SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers can't post win

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 6:53 AM ET

On another night, they probably score four.

Or at least enough to win the game and keep their faint playoff hopes alive.

However, last night the puck wasn't bouncing the Oilers' way as they hit the iron on four occasions and squandered a couple of other great opportunities in a 2-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.

"It's funny the way things happen," said Oilers' centre Sam Gagner. "We were also getting pucks back to the point with a lot of time, but they seem to be bouncing over sticks. But we can't use bounces and posts and different things like that as excuses, because if we're a couple of points in the playoffs, you can afford those bounces. That's the tough thing about it."

Heading into the game three points out of a playoff spot, with five games left on the schedule, the Oilers couldn't afford another bad bounce, much less a loss.

However, when Dustin Penner fired a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, which rung off the underside of the bar and came back out, there was a sense that it wouldn't be the Oilers' day. That feeling was reinforced when Ales Kotalik then hit the post later in the period.

"We even had one when Stevie (Staios), got a shot past Nabokov and it hit Sully (Patrick O'Sullivan) and stayed out," Gagner said. "Sully is just going to the net hard and that's just what we're trying to do, go to the net hard, get bodies in front of the net. It's tough when that happens where the pucks hit the post and different things.

"But again, we're in the position we're in because of us and we can't focus on any excuse or bad breaks that have happened to us, we really have to focus on what's coming up in our next task."

In the third Kotalik again beat Nabokov only to have the puck slide through the goaltenders pads and nearly come to a rest on the goal post.

Excluding the posts, which don't count as shots on net, the Oilers outshot San Jose 26-22.

DEREK.VANDIEST@SUNMEDIA.CA


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