He was once one of the bright faces of the future.
But all that can be seen on Andrew Cogliano’s face lately is frustration.
Even on Thursday, in arguably one of his best games of the season offensively, the Oilers forward was left in a daze.
“I felt good early, I though I was playing well early on,” Cogliano said. “It felt good to get on the power play and make a difference. But I was on the ice for the two of the three goals scored against us. And one goal could be blamed on me because of my defensive-zone coverage, which is unfortunate, because it takes away from someone like me who is trying to gain some confidence. But I have to try and forget about it and just keep playing.”
Cogliano, 22, scored the Oilers first goal on Thursday in a 3-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.
The Toronto native got some rare power-play time and converted a Patrick O’Sullivan feed on a two-man advantage.
It was a goal-scorers goal, having been robbed by Marc-Andre Fleury on his first attempt following a cross-crease pass, Cogliano stuck with the play and lifted the rebound over the Penguins goaltender.
“The way things worked out, I got a chance to get out on the five-on-three,” said Cogliano. “I haven’t had any time on the five-on-three this year. Sully (O’Sullivan) made a great pass, he kind of called the pass before he made it, that he was going to do it, and I just stuck with it.”
The goal was Cogliano’s fifth of the season and his first in 11 games.
The Oilers first-round pick – 25 overall – in 2005, started the game centring Ryan Stone and J-F Jacques. He was using his speed effectively early on in the contest and was one of the Oilers biggest threats offensively.
However in the third, he lost an edge trying to keep up with Jordan Staal, went crashing into the boards and watched as the Penguins centre set up Tyler Kennedy for Pittsburgh first goal of the game.
He then bounced off Staal trying to check him at the side of the net allowing the big centre to bank the winning goal off Pascal Dupuis and into the net.
“It’s been really tough,” Cogliano said. “I’ve been wanting to get out there on more offensive situations. I was able to get that tonight, I played a lot five-on-five. I thought for the most part I thought I did a good job, but it was unfortunate that I was on the ice for two goals against in the game.”
For the most part this season, Cogliano has been used in a checking role, centring the Oilers fourth line between Ethan Moreau and Zack Stortini.
Between the three of them, they have 12 goals on the season.
“It’s been difficult to get a lot of points this year, I’ve been playing on the fourth line for most of the year and not playing a lot of special teams,” Cogliano said. “But you have to try and play through it. You have to play as hard as possible, be strong and try to earn more ice time. I thought I did that (Thursday), I got to play on the power play and made a difference which was good.”
A two-time 18 goal scorer, Cogliano is on pace to collect half that this season.
As one of the cornerstones of the future, it is imperative he regains his scoring prowess.
For that reason, the Oilers plan on giving the speedy centre more ice time and putting him in offensive situations.
“We’re going to give him some ice time to see if he can justify the strong feelings we have about this young man,” said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn.
“They drafted him for his offensive skill, although there is lots more to this game than that, as everyone knows. I don’t know if he wasn’t with the right people at the right time. You have to earn that ice time and lately he’s been earning more ice time.”