SUN Hockey Pool

Deslaurier all about learning

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:10 AM ET

Jeff Deslauriers has been through enough adversity in his career to know that's it's not about how often you get knocked down, but how many times you bounce back up.

The Edmonton Oilers goaltender had the worst outing of his NHL career on Saturday, giving up four goals on 11 shots in a 7-3 loss to the Vancouver Canucks.

With Nikolai Khabibulin still laid up with a sore back, Deslauriers needs put the poor outing behind him and get back in the crease.

“You have to learn from it,” Deslauriers said. “It’s never fun to get pulled and it’s never fun to lose. You do feel bad about yourself because you think you could have done better, you think you could have helped the team more.”

The four early goals essentially sealed the Oilers fate in the contest, especially considering they were up against one of the best goaltenders in the league in Roberto Luongo.

Yet, despite the early deficit, they did manage to battle back and were able to pull within two goals with half the game left to play. It something the team feels they can build on.

“We gave up some goals that as a team we would love to have back,” said Oilers winger Patrick O’Sullivan. “We are struggling, but we’re only three games below .500 and if we can get those back, it’s amazing what winning a couple of games in a row can do. That’s what we have to try and do.

"We can talk about how unhappy we are with the situation, but I think everyone is more focused with trying to get better instead of dwelling with the situation we’re in right now.”

For Deslauriers that’s the best course of action. Goaltenders have to have short memories.

“You have to be able to focus on being able to put those things in the past and focus on the future,” Deslauriers said. “That game in Vancouver doesn’t mean anything for us, we still have a lot of months left in the season and we want to focus on the future. We want to make the playoffs and we have to battle for that spot.”

The Oilers have invested too much in Deslauriers to discard him after one bad start.

Heading into the season, the St-Jean-Richelieu, Quebec native was expected to be used in relief, spelling Khabibulin once every five or six games.

On Saturday, Deslauriers was making his sixth consecutive start and first on consecutive nights.

The fact three of the four goals he conceded were whistled over his shoulder having gone down early, suggested perhaps the workload was catching up to him. After the contest Deslauriers denied that was a factor.

“I don’t need anyone to tell me what I did wrong in that game,” Deslauriers said. “I know what I did wrong in that contest and I know what I did well. It’s obviously frustrating to get pulled, but those things happen. I’m not the first goaltender to get pulled and I won’t be the last.

“Those things just improve your character. I’ve always been a guy that works hard and that will continue to do that. That was a game where things didn’t bounce in my corner, but that’s why we’re here practicing (Tuesday).”

The Oilers head out on a five-game road trip starting Wednesday against the Detroit Red Wings. From there, they’ll go on to face the Dallas Stars, Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues.

“My focus is now on Detroit,” Deslauriers said. “They were a Stanley Cup contender last year. They’re still a great skilled team. They like to put pucks at the net and try to deflect them, which is something everyone does now.

“The Vancouver game is over, those are two points we would have liked to have, but don’t have them. All we can do is try to win as many games as we can going forward to try and earn a playoff spot.”


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