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Turtle Derby turkeys

Oilers' Jean-Francois Jacques fights Blues' Brad Winchester during second period action at Rexall...

Oilers' Jean-Francois Jacques fights Blues' Brad Winchester during second period action at Rexall Place on Monday. (QMI Agency/Amber Bracken)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 9:22 AM ET

If the popular theory holds true, Santa will have plenty of toys for the Edmonton Oilers this year.

In deciding who's been naughty or nice, he need only look at the bottom of the standings.

Nice guys finish last, after all, and at 15th in the Western Conference, a position they solidified with last night's humiliating 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues, the Oilers have been as nice as it gets to the rest of the NHL.

"We haven't had a loss this bad in a while," said defenceman Tom Gilbert, at a loss for words after the Oilers let a mediocre St. Louis team run them out of their own rink.

"We just couldn't slow them down. Turnovers. Not playing our systems. Not doing things that give us chances to win. Tonight was pretty sloppy."

And maybe not entirely unexpected, given the size of the crowd. The Oilers announced a sellout at Rexall Place, but it wasn't close. There were banks of empty seats in the upper blues as the home team fell behind 1-0 and 2-1 to one of the softest touches they can face without scheduling an exhibition game against themselves, then gave up five-straight goals over the final 40 minutes to lose the Turtle Derby.

"I'm not going to spin this a positive way -- we got killed tonight," said Ethan Moreau. "But we came out, we were ready to play, we were executing early, then their power play took over. That was the difference in the game. They got some fortunate goals and our special teams were poor. It's too bad, because they've been pretty good of late."

The 29th ranked power play in the NHL went 4-for-5 with the man advantage, while the Oilers were 0-for-3.

"Our PK struggled a bit tonight," said Andrew Cogliano. "They'd been doing a really good job, but that's what happens some nights, pucks just go in. And the guys who got the opportunity on the power play tonight didn't do the job on that side of special teams. I think that was the difference."

The Oilers went 0-4 on their homestand (falling to 15-17-4 on the season), but this one hurts the most.

"The other games we were in them, we were playing well and should have won a couple of them," said Cogliano. "This one we weren't really in it. We couldn't crawl back into the game, that's the most disappointing part."

That, and the fact they got destroyed by a team that was in 15th itself a few days ago.

"If you're going to get beat, you get beat by teams that are the top of the league," said Cogliano.

"When a team that's beside you beats you 7-2 it's a tougher pill to swallow."

Devan Dubnyk, getting his first ever NHL start in relief of Jeff Deslauriers, who had played 14 in a row, got shelled. They weren't all his fault, not by a longshot, but he was no better, or worse, than anyone else in Oilers colours.

Dustin Penner and Sam Gagner had replied for Edmonton after the Blues took 1-0 and 2-1 leads, but five straight goals, four of them with the man advantage, turned the evening into a farce.

"Tonight we played half the game," said Gilbert. "Once they scored a couple of goals we weren't ready enough to say to ourselves we have to stop this, we have to go out and start applying more pressure."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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