SUN Hockey Pool

Backbreaking loss for Oilers

Oilers forward Ales Hemsky lies on the ice after getting hit into the boards by Kings forward...

Oilers forward Ales Hemsky lies on the ice after getting hit into the boards by Kings forward Michal Handzus on Wednesday at Rexall Place. (KEN ARMSTRONG/Sun Media)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:00 AM ET

There goes the winning streak.

The Los Angeles Kings snapped Edmonton's run at one game in a row last night when a guy who finds the net once every blue moon outscored every one of the Oilers' blank-shooting big guns.

"It was one of those games that was up for grabs, someone was going to reach out and grab the two points and it wasn't us," said head coach Pat Quinn, after his club's failed attempt to win two in a row for the first time in five weeks. "I guess we played just enough not to get it. It wasn't a terrific hockey game by any measure, but they're going home with two points and we're sucking wind."

Like a tornado of failure.

You know it's not your month when Matt Greene, who has four goals in 258 career games, rips one over your goalie's shoulder at 15:32 of the third period to bust open a 1-1 tie.

"We broke," said Quinn, about 30 minutes after Alexander Frolov's empty-netter sealed L.A's 3-1 win. "In all hockey games you're challenged from moment to moment and we broke on that final goal."

A stay-at-home defenceman shouldn't be able to stroll in from the point, wind up like John Daly and get a free rip at the net. Not when it's tied late in the third.

"When you have that much time ... he walked right down," sighed Sheldon Souray, again, one of the few players who hung around to meet the media after the loss. "Give him some credit, he still has to make that shot, but the fault is on us."

This one wasn't much to look at. The Kings were conservative on the forecheck and the Oilers, held to 15 shots through 40 minutes, couldn't generate much of anything. They sleepwalked for long stretches, posting just two shots through the first 10 minutes of the second period and three shots through the first 10 minutes of the third.

"There were lulls in the game that we didn't really step up in," said Sam Gagner. "And we allowed them to take control."

Deslauriers was very good, though. The Kings couldn't beat him till Wayne Simmonds slid a seeing-eye wrist shot through traffic at 6:38 of the second period to even the score and end the shutout streak at 97 minutes and 45 seconds dating back to the third period last Saturday against Chicago.

With the shots 35-23 L.A., he's stopped 68 of 71 shots over his last six periods. But when you only score once, you don't win many, and Ryan Potulny's first-period deflection wasn't nearly enough.

"We started out the season with a lot of jump, good balance, three (scoring) lines -- that's all disappeared," said Quinn. "We've got a lot of people who are dry. Hemsky and Penner are the only consistent people. When they have off nights or we lose one ..."

And what's an Oilers game without another player going down? This time it was Ales Hemsky, who left the game midway through the second after being hit from behind by Michal Handzus.

Meanwhile, the St. Louis Blues beat Dallas 4-3 to inch one point behind the 12th place Oilers.

"At some point you have to get results," said Sam Gagner. "We talk a lot in here about process and doing the right things, but at some point it's not about learning lessons, it's about winning games."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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