SUN Hockey Pool

Toast on the coast

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:55 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Well, at least they didn't give up nine goals.

That concludes the good news portion of our game story.

Now the bad, of which there was plenty, again, in last night's 4-2 loss in Vancouver.

Still smarting from Tuesday night's 9-2 home ice loss to the Blackhawks - a humiliating night in which Edmonton fans were actually cheering for a 10th Chicago goal - the Oilers dearly wanted to take their frustrations out on the rival Canucks.

They didn't. Instead, they only amped up the growing frustration among the fan base with another aimless defeat.

"We showed some resolve at the end and got ourselves back in the game, but we ran out of time," said defenceman Steve Staios.

"Too little too late."

Way too little, way too late.

"A lot of guys started battling late in the game, that's when we scored two goals," said Andrew Cogliano. "If we had done that right from the beginning we might have scored a couple more.

"It's very frustrating, especially with so many power plays (six). We have to score on them. We're spending so much energy on the PK right now we're letting up on the power play. That's a big part of today's game.

"It's disappointing because I think we were ready."

After winning four of five games, they've now lost two in a row and haven't looked very good doing it.

Truth be told, probably the only reason they made it close in the third was because the Canucks were down to four defenceman after Zack Stortini knocked Shane O'Brien from the game in the first period and Ethan Moreau knocked Sami Salo from the contest with a dangerous hit from behind late in the second.

SPECIAL TEAMS DEAD

Special teams, which have been killing them lately, did again. They gave up a power play goal and went 0-for-5 until Sam Gagner scored on a 6-on-4 with the net empty. Again, too little and too late.

"It's the most critical thing in the game," said Staios. "We have to get both at a higher level. We know from experience that down the stretch and in the playoffs special teams and goaltending (win) and we have a lot of room for improvement there."

Playoffs? Not bloodly likely if they don't get some stuff straightened out. This was the exact opposite of the 3-0 licking Edmonton laid on Vancouver last Saturday. The Canucks were hungrier, tougher in the hard areas and had better specials teams.

"They were crashing the net hard," said netminder Dwayne Roloson. "That's part of the game right now, there's nothing you can do about it. I'd love to go back to the (anchored) posts and see guys flying to the net like that."

Edmonton started well enough, perhaps because the Canucks had to spend an hour sitting through Trevor Linden's sweater retirement ceremony, and came out of the first period tied 0-0.

The Oilers even killed two penalties in the first period, which represented an enormous breakthrough for the second worst PK unit in the league.

All in all, a very good start.

Then came the second period.

A 5-on-3 Vancouver goal at 1:14 and an even strength goal at 3:51 put the hosts in front to stay. The shots were 7-0 Vancouver at the time.

"We played a great first period," said goalie Dwayne Roloson. "We did the little things, we got pucks to the net. But that five on three was the turning point. It was unfortunate they were able to get a goal. We have to make sure we get a kill there and unfortunately we didn't."

SERIOUS BLOW

Any thoughts of a third period comeback were dealt a serious blow when Daniel Sedin added his second of the night at 16:10.

Dustin Penner gave the Oilers early life when he scored a few minutes into the third period, and Gagner turned up everyone's blood pressure at 18:31 when he made it 3-2 on a six-on-four, but it wasn't enough, not even against the short-staffed Vancouver D.


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