Takin' the hard route

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:33 AM ET

Nothing has come easy for the Edmonton Oilers this season.

The Oilers needed some fourth-line heroics to pull out a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders last night at Rexall Place.

Had this been a one off, it might be easy to overlook, but with home losses to struggling teams already in the books this season, it was getting to be remarkably close to a trend.

"I don't think we should be rolling over them," said Oilers centre Andrew Cogliano, who scored the game-winning goal in the third period. "There are no easy games in this league. We just got off to a bad start and I'm glad the fourth line came to play and then we were able to get one at the end."

The Oilers fell behind 2-0 to a team that has not won on the road since Nov. 24.

"I don't think we were mentally playing well," Cogliano said. "I think intensity-wise we were playing and were ready to battle, but mentally we were throwing pucks into areas that we shouldn't be throwing and we were making stupid plays, which cost us in the first."

A giveaway by Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff resulted in the Islanders first goal as Kyle Okposo took the gift and snapped it past goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

Then with 2.5 seconds left in the first, Blake Comeau took a pass in the slot on the power play as two Oilers went after Josh Bailey along the boards, and fired another shot past Roloson.

"It was sloppy for us at the start, we got into the turnover game," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish.

"They played as good as anybody has against us. They put a lot of pressure on us early and we didn't handle the pressure very well.

"But we were able to collect ourselves after the first period and played a pretty workman-like game in the second and third."

Fortunately for the Oilers, it was enough to pull out the victory and avoid another embarrassing defeat.

With the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks next on the slate, it was important for the Oilers to pick up maximum points against a weaker hockey team.

"Obviously you want to be teams like this handily," Cogliano said. "But that wasn't the case. The most important thing was that we got the two points and now we move on to a big game against Vancouver.

"We can't critique the win too much now, we know what we did wrong in the first and I'm glad the fourth line came and plays as solid a game as they did."


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