Kitchen sinker at home

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:44 AM ET

With 12 of their next 15 games at home, the Edmonton Oilers wanted to reach out and grab this golden opportunity with both hands.

Instead, it was more like Joe Sakic reaching into a snowblower.

Speaking of bad hands, the Oilers played like they had hooks at the end of their wrists. They threw everything but the kitchen sink at the visiting Florida Panthers, only to watch Game 1 of the homestand go down the drain.

"It's frustrating not to score goals, but I think the effort was there," said Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon, who watched his teammates outshoot the injury-riddled Panthers 41-16 and still lose 2-0.

"Sometimes shots on goal don't mean much, but tonight we played a good game."

Now they know how the San Jose Sharks feel, losing an identical heartbreaker last weekend after outshooting Edmonton 43-17.

What goes around usually comes around, just not usually this fast.

"We had all kinds of opportunity early to take the lead in the hockey game," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "All we needed was one."

They never got it.

In the first game of what amounts to a two-month homestand, the Oilers wanted to make a point of coming out strong and establishing their dominance at Rexall Place. So they stormed out of the gate, outshooting the Panthers 7-0 through the first 10 minutes and 13-4 through 20, but couldn't find a way to beat goalie Craig Anderson.

The second period was more of the same, with Edmonton continuing to pepper the Florida net. But at the second intermission the shots were 28-13 and the Oilers were down 1-0.

"We had the puck in their end for a lot of the night, we really didn't give them too many good chances," said Andrew Cogliano. "We didn't really play a bad game ... "

Anderson didn't have to make any sensational saves, but will have to wash a lot of rubber marks off that Panthers logo on the front of his sweater.

The Oilers used it for target practice all night.

"He was seeing all the pucks, making pretty routine saves," said Sheldon Souray. "We got a lot of shots, but not a lot of quality chances."

And somewhere in San Jose, the Sharks were laughing their tail-fins off.

On and on it went in the third period:

- Through six minutes, the shots were 30-13 and it was still 1-0 Florida.

- Through 10 minutes, the shots were 34-13 and it was still 1-0 Florida.

- Through 14 minutes the shots were 38-13 and it was still 1-0 Florida.

Gulp!

- Through 18 minutes, 41-15 ... still 1-0.

"We were sitting on the bench saying it's going to come, it's going to come," said Cogliano. "But it never did."

At the final buzzer, incredibly, it was 41-16 and 2-0 on an empty netter at 19:57.

"We feel like we have the right group in here, but we need to be more consistent," said Erik Cole.

"Tonight was definitely a step back. We definitely have to get things turned around at home, for sure.

"You're not going to be a successful team without a winning record at home."

LATE HITS: Ales Hemsky's eight-game point-scoring streak came to end after 11 points ... Sam Gagner played 12:44 in his first game back from the concussion ... Shawn Horcoff took 26 of 46 faceoffs for Edmonton, going 16-10.


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