SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers have little time for self-pity

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:48 AM ET

DETROIT -- It's happened so often, it's almost routine now.

However, the Edmonton Oilers do have a tendency to bounce back from humiliating defeats.

Yesterday's 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings stung, but it had been forgotten by the time the Oilers landed in St. Paul for today's tilt against the Minnesota Wild.

"We're at the point in the season where there is not going to be any negative energy carried over from any game," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau. "There are lots of things that we did in that game that we can take into the next game that were positives. I thought we had guys that competed at a high level. A lot of our young guys, with the exception of maybe the first 10 minutes, really battled hard, battled in the face-off circle and had some really good individual efforts."

There was little doubt what the outcome in Detroit was going to be after the first period as the Oilers fell behind 5-0. They did show some life in the third as Zack Stortini scored a goal, then helped create another and Robert Nilsson made a nice play to set up Marc Pouliot.

Although any thoughts of a Miracle on Steve Yzerman Drive were put to rest with a pair of goals in 14 seconds apart by the Red Wings.

"I think anytime you lose, especially when you lose to the best team in the league, you have to try and take out any positives from the game and try and take into the next one," Moreau said. "I thought there were a lot of positives."

Heading into today's game the Oilers are going into a building where they've traditionally played well, but have struggled to come out of with wins.

The Oilers dropped their first encounter in Minnesota this season 5-1, despite playing a relatively strong road game, then giving up a pair of late goals in the contest.

They've only managed to win one of their last games in Minnesota.

"It's a lot like going into St. Louis," Moreau said. "Last time we were in there, we didn't have Hemmer (Ales Hemsky). We worked really hard and we just weren't able to get the goal that we needed. That was the difference. If we can get a couple of early goals it makes a big difference, which we proved at home the last time.

"Going into Minny, we just have to do what we did last time, we just have to try and score more goals."

The Oilers defeated the Wild 3-1 at Rexall Place following a 10-2 thrashing at the hands of the Buffalo Sabres. A win today would construe a successful road trip, with two out of a possible three wins.

"We're not as destitute as everyone might think we are based on the game coming out of here (Detroit)," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "We're going to regroup here, come back and battle hard against Minnesota."

The Oilers may have to go into today's game, once again, without the services of Shawn Horcoff. The Oilers centre is still recovering from what is officially being described as a lower body injury, but is believed to be charley-horse.

"It's something that we have to assess in the morning," MacTavish said. "Obviously when you miss a game, the next game on the next day it's a stretch to think that he'll be available. But we'll see how it responds."

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THREE STARS

1. Niklas Kronwall, Wings

Three assists in the contest, two of which were great setups.

2. Marian Hossa, Wings

Great setup on the first goal and scored another.

3. Zack Stortini, Oilers

Showed some life in the third period with a goal and an assist

WHY THEY LOST

The were out of the contest by the first television time out, out-worked, out-played and out-classed by a superior Wings team.

PLAY O' THE DAY

Jiri Hudler fires a pass over to Marian Hossa in the high slot, who re-directs it with his skate back to Brian Rafalski at the point. The Wings defenceman then goes on to blow a shot past Dwayne Roloson to get the thrashing started.

SAVE O' THE DAY

Red Wings goaltender Ty Conklin turns away Kyle Brodziak on a clear-cut breakaway in the third period.


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