SUN Hockey Pool

Slumping Oilers hit low point

ROB TYCHKOWSKI, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 10:13 AM ET

EDMONTON -- Forget about Christmas or New Years.

One look at the standings and it feels like Halloween for the Edmonton Oilers.

Spooky.

The season is not even half over yet and the Oilers are already 15th in the NHL's Western Conference, 10 points out of a playoff spot.

The Oilers, who are in the midst of a six-game losing streak, host the slumping Calgary Flames tonight at Rexall Place.

"We have to fix things -- that's the most important thing -- and not get too worked up with the standings," said Oilers winger Andrew Cogliano.

"There's not much we can do about how other teams are playing. We have to worry about ourselves and stick to what made us successful at the beginning of the year and at times during the year.

"The more we think about where other teams are -- or where we are -- games start slipping away and next thing you know you've got 10 games left and you're out of the playoffs."

The good thing about being in 15th place before the season is half over, says Cogliano, is there's still more than half a season to make things right.

"For sure (it's unnerving) when you look at it and see that you're in 15th place," Cogliano said.

"But there's a lot of games left, 44 games left, and things can turn around really quick. Things can go up and down in a hurry. We won five in a row, and then we lose six in a row. What we need to do now is put a bunch of games together here and make sure we're beating teams in our own division.

"Obviously, those are big games. That's all we can do right now."

The Oilers, who've had the schedule working in their favour most of December, face yet another team playing its second game in as many nights when the Flames come calling.

Brent Sutter's squad will be sour after a 5-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks last night.

The Alberta rivals seem to bring the best out in each other, which might be just what both teams need.

"Every game is a big game for us right now. It doesn't matter if it's Calgary or somebody else, and we know it," said Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid.

"We have to start winning to get back in the playoff race. We all know Calgary is a good team, and they're going to be up for this one, and we have to be, too. We win one game and, all of a sudden, it's two or three. We saw it happen before."

The Oilers have lost the last six home games and played to rows of empty seats in their 7-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues last week.

"We shouldn't be giving up wins in our building to anyone," Smid said. "We have to be stronger here."

Starting tonight.

"We want to get on a bit of a roll where we're feeling some success," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. "What clicks all of a sudden, what makes it happen, I don't know. That's the elusive part for us right now."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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