Oilers let pair of leads evaporate

Oilers right wing Erik Cole hits Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr during first period action...

Oilers right wing Erik Cole hits Calgary Flames defenseman Robyn Regehr during first period action at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Alta. (Amber Bracken / Sun Media)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:41 PM ET

The Edmonton Oilers could taste the victory ... right up until they barfed it up.

Now, all they can taste this morning, after spitting up a W in yesterday's last-minute collapse, is the sour taste of defeat.

They had a 1-0 lead at home after 20 minutes and instead of going for more found themselves tied 1-1 after 40.

They were up 2-1 for most of the third, then let the Flames tie it with just 65 seconds left in regulation

SHOOTING BLANKS

They did their best to gag it up in overtime, shooting blanks on a power play and giving up a last second breakaway, and when that didn't work, they didn't even get a shot away in the shootout.

So the Flames walk away with a 2-1 win and the Oilers are left with an OTL single, and a pretty raunchy aftertaste.

This one hurts.

"Every game when you lost at this point is tough, we have one point in our last three, it's been a tough stretch of games for us," said Erik Cole, one of Edmonton's best open the night. "To give up the two points tonight when we had the game under control is disappointing."

How they lost it and who they lost it too makes this defeat all the more caustic, but the Oilers were already doing their best to distance themselves from the stench last night.

"The late goal, it's a tough one to give up," said Sam Gagner. "But the team in here has shown we can bounce back from a tough loss like that. We have a lot of character guys. You never want to lose to Calgary, especially the way we lost, but we have to focus on the positive things we did."

The Oilers, who began the day a full 12 points back of the division-leading Calgary Flames, know their chances of moving into the Northwest penthouse are slim and none, but figured if they couldn't join them they could still beat them.

And they were well on their way. Ales Hemsky scored on quick snapshot into the far corner 1:46 into the third period to give Edmonton a 2-1 lead they would nurse until the 18:55 mark, when former Oilers draft pick Matthew Lombardi put the tying goal over Dwayne Roloson's shoulder to force overtime.

"Normally we're really solid with the lead in the third period," said Shawn Horcoff, who set up both Edmonton goals. "When you sit back like that in the trap, that's one thing they're going to get, pucks from the outside by the boards.

"What are you going to do? He makes a great play, he makes a great shot. Roli was there for us all night, he's a big reason why we were in the situation we were. He's giving us a chance to win every night."

CHANCE TO WIN

He even gave them a chance to win in the shootout, but they blew that, too. Todd Bertuzzi scored first on a one-handed road-hockey shot, then watched from the bench as Gagner lost control of the puck and didn't even get a shot away, Robert Nilsson got poke checked and Hemsky lost control of the puck on a deke attempt.

Game over.

"It happens from time to time," said Gagner. "It's too bad it happened in that situation, but those are the kinds of things you can't worry about too much. I have to focus on moving forward. The games we have coming up are pretty important.''

Edmonton opened the scoring on Erik Cole's goal at 12:26, then Jarome Iginla squared it in the second.

"We'll take any points we can get right now and move forward," said Horcoff. "We obviously wanted two and this is disappointing, but at this point in the season you can't be dreading about missed opportunities. In 82 games this is going to happen."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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