'Embarrassing' display by Oilers

Rangers goalie Steve Valiquette stops Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano in the first period last night....

Rangers goalie Steve Valiquette stops Edmonton's Andrew Cogliano in the first period last night. (Sun Media/Jason Franson)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:03 AM ET

It's pretty hard to wear out your welcome on a one-game homestand, but the Edmonton Oilers managed to do just that, judging from the bum's rush they got last night at Rexall Place.

Home for one game before heading out on a five-game road trip, it was clearly one-game too many for an increasingly frustrated crowd that's almost as tired of this team as its coach is.

With one win in their last seven games, and outscored 19-5 in the six losses, the Oilers seem worse now than they ever did last season.

Take last night, please.

The Oilers looked small, timid, disorganized, devoid of passion and offensively clueless in a 4-2 loss to the New York Rangers. And those were the good points.

"It's really kind of embarrassing," said Andrew Cogliano, who led the Oilers with six shots on net. "We're not scoring goals, we're not keeping the goals out.

"It's pretty embarrassing what's going on. We've lost six of seven games and now we're going on one of the biggest road trips of our season -- we better shape up and get going because this could go downhill really quick."

If one surefire sign that the rest of the NHL is losing respect for you is how many times you face the other team's backup netminder, the Oilers should be worried because in three of their last four games, the other side gave their starter the night off.

They got Tuukka Rask in Boston, Jimmy Howard against Detroit and Stephen Valiquette last night against the Rangers. Long Island was a saw-off because Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron share the job, but if they had a bona-fide backup he definitely would have played.

With five goals in their last six losses, the Oilers are no threat whatsoever.

"We don't shoot the puck," said head coach Pat Quinn. "We've got guys who are supposed to be goal scorers that don't even put the puck anywhere near the net. That's the disappointing part."

Vowing to get more shots and more traffic at the net, the Oilers were being outshot 19-8 through 25 minutes. By the 30 minute mark it was 2-0 on goals from Chris Higgins and Ryan Callahan.

"I think we're squeezing our sticks and watching the play instead of going after it," said Patrick O'Sullivan. "We need to let our intelligence as hockey players take over instead of worrying what we're going to do wrong."

Lubomir Visnovsky gave the place something to cheer about, however briefly, when he chopped a backhand past Rangers backup Steve Valiquette at 14:52, but the Rangers were quick to get that one back.

Former Oiler Ales Kotalik, who now has 15 points for the Rangers, but wasn't given the time of day from Edmonton last summer, buried a sensational pass from Marian Gaborik at 16:36 to make it 3-1 at the second intermission.

He finished with three points on the night and appears to be joining Curtis Glencross on Edmonton's whoops pile.

Gaborik's power play goal, the Rangers third of the night, made it 4-1 before Mike Comrie put lipstick on the pig at 10:17.

Late hits ...

Since going up 5-1 on Detroit, the Oilers have been outscored 13-3 ... Comrie and Steve Staios returned from flu and concussion last night, but J-F Jacques (back), Ladislav Smid (illness) and Shawn Horcoff (shoulder) were out.

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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