SAN JOSE -- It had the makings of a blood bath with the best team in the league going up against one of the worst.
And considering the success the Edmonton Oilers have had here in the past was contingent on outstanding goaltending, Jeff Deslauriers needed to be particularly sharp in order for the visitors to have a chance.
He wasn't, although he didn't get much help from the rest of his team in a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks last night at the HP Pavilion.
'I HAD A CHANCE'
"On all the goals, I had a chance to make those saves and you have to make those saves at this level," said Deslauriers. "We played better defensively, but Christmas is done, you can't give those goals to a team like that if you want to win the game.
"I have to be strong and stronger than what I showed tonight."
The loss was the ninth in the last 10 games for the Oilers whose season is quickly spiralling down the drain.
The Sharks got on the board 13 minutes into the first period as Kent Huskins' point shot bounced off a couple of shin pads -- the last being Jamie McGinn's -- and squeaked past Deslauriers.
Douglas Murray extended San Jose's lead with a soft wrist shot that found it's way through the Oilers goaltender.
In the second, Dany Heatley put the Sharks up by three on a wraparound as Deslauriers was unable to get across his crease in time.
"We are a team and one of the things we don't ever want to do is put the blame here or there," said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn. "I'm sure he would like to have a couple back, but that happens to all people.
"But I thought we did a lot of good things. We forechecked well, we battled all night, I could never question the effort of the guys. They had some good chances, but we're just not able to put the puck in the net."
There was no point entertaining the thought of pulling Deslauriers with Bryan Pitton having been called up from the ECHL's Stockton Thunder to back up the Oilers goaltender.
There was no way the Oilers were about to throw the rookie to the Sharks.
It wouldn't have made much of a difference anyway without much offence at the other end.
Robert Nilsson gave the Oilers some hope as his shot was stopped by Sharks goaltender Evgeni Nabokov, but then bounced off Joe Pavelski into the net.
However, Patrick Marleau put to rest any idea of a comeback, beating Deslauriers through the pads on a wrist shot as the teams skated four-on-four.
'MISSING OPEN NETS'
"We're missing open nets it seems like and we're not burying the puck right now," Quinn said. "Maybe that's part of the concentration that we miss sometimes as far as execution. Execution clearing puck, execution finishing checks.
"On their third goal, we knocked the puck down but can't clear it, get in the corner and can't clear it. Next thing you know it's in the back of the net. JD didn't cover it off well, but Heatley was able to come around and walk around the other side.
"You'd like to think that you can cover those sorts of plays off, you'd like to help your goaltender."