SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers Star-struck in Big D

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:28 AM ET

DALLAS -- Normally a .500 road trip is what all teams shoot for, but last night the Oilers took aim at their own feet instead.

With a chance to post a 3-1 road trip and jump over the Dallas Stars, the Oilers shot themselves in the skates, multiple times, in a deflating 4-2 loss at American Airlines Arena.

"They were more disciplined than us in a number of categories," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, who would have taken a 2-2 swing when the trip began, but not now.

"We were in a position to really help ourselves out. The team that's able to put together a .750 road trip at a crucial time is going to be the one that gets in, and we could have helped ourselves.

"We played three pretty good games, but tonight I didn't think we played very well."

They didn't. No offence, no discipline and very little defence seldom add up to a good result.

"We started turning the puck over again," said MacTavish. "We weren't willing to get the pucks in deep and get on it, play a simple game, get pucks to the net, much like the fourth line did when they got a huge goal for us at the end of the first period."

Now they're heading for home with a bad taste in their mouths, lamenting the points they let get away.

"We win this game and we move ahead of Dallas, so obviously we're not happy with it," said centre Sam Gagner. "But at the same time, you can't live and die with every game. We really have to focus on the next one coming up, learn from our mistakes and be better for it."

The Oilers didn't get much from their top six on this night. They mustered just 14 shots through the first 50 minutes.

"It's not even just offence, it's executing all over," said Gagner.

"If we're going to win these next games coming up we have to be better in our execution."

This one started off like so many of Edmonton's trips to Dallas have: on the wrong foot.

The Stars, who've won 10 of their last 13 games, jumped out to a 2-0 lead on goals by Krys Barch and rookie Ray Sawada, but just 23 seconds after Dallas' second goal, Liam Reddox stemmed the tide with his fourth of the season.

"We battled hard, it was just some of the mental mistakes we've been making lately, from our veteran guys to our inexperienced guys," said Dwayne Roloson.

"We just have to eliminate some of the mental mistakes we're making."

Edmonton tied it 2-2 just 47 seconds into the second period on Shawn Horcoff's 14th of the season, but Ethan Moreau's double minor (tripping and roughing) set the stage for Dallas' third goal at 3:08.

MacTavish didn't like either call.

"He stepped on his stick to start with, then in the fray; I don't know how you take one guy from that," said the coach.


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