Oilers bagged in overtime

Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff wrestles with Canucks forward Alex Burrows during third period action...

Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff wrestles with Canucks forward Alex Burrows during third period action on Wednesday. (QMI Agency/Jason Franson)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

What time is the bag skate today?

It appears Pat Quinn finally found a way to get through to the Edmonton Oilers.

He cracked the whip in a 35-minute lung-burner Tuesday and they responded Wednesday with their best game in months.

Yes, we know, they'd only won once since Dec. 11, so saying it's their best game in months is like marvelling at the sunset in Afghanistan.

And it's hard to admire a defeat when it's your ninth in a row and 16th in 17 games, but they played hard and looked good and deserved a lot better than to lose 3-2 in overtime because a referee bought a dive.

"I thought that was one of our better efforts of the year, for sure one of our best efforts in the last 20 games," said Andrew Cogliano.

"It's really frustrating -- guys are battling and playing so hard and there's a call like that in overtime."

With Gary Bettman in the building to witness it first hand, Mason Raymond hit the deck after being nudged by Denis Grebeshkov less than a minute into overtime and referee Kyle Rehman swallowed the bait.

Replays later showed it was nothing even vaguely resembling a trip, but it was too late. Vancouver had the four-on-three and Daniel Sedin scored the winner.

"I don't how he could have seen the play from where he was standing in the first place, and when you see the replay, there was no contact," said Patrick O'Sullivan.

"He just fell. I guess when things aren't go well, that's what happens. We haven't had a bounce in 15 games.

"It's hard. You don't see that call made during the game, I don't know why you'd make it in overtime. It's tough to swallow this one."

It's only the second time in the last nine games that they've left a hockey game with anything other than hurt feelings, and the OT point at this stage of the season means nothing, but getting robbed like that after a game like that definitely leaves a sour taste.

The Oilers out shot and out played the Canucks and would have won going away if not for about 10 goal-stealing saves by Roberto Luongo.

"We had a lot of passion and intensity, we played the game the right way," said Sam Gagner, who made it 1-0 when he picked the corner at 9:04 of the first. "Now we have to regroup and use our anger the right way and be better."

After Alex Burrows tied it for vancouver late in the first, Sheldon Souray made it 2-1 Edmonton early in the second, a score that held up through 40 minutes.

Given all that's gone wrong in the last 60 or 70 days, fans spent much of the third period wondering what would go wrong.

They got their answer at 15:54 when Sami Salo tied it on the power play.

And there was more heartbreak to come.

But watching these guys sometimes it's hard to believe they've lost 17 of 17.

"It's ridiculous," said O'Sullivan.

"You have to win a lucky game every once in a while, let alone a game like tonight where we outplay the other team and deserved the win.

"It's really strange. My first year in L.A. we were nowhere near the team we have here and we never went through a stretch like this.

"You have to get a bounce at some point, maybe get a call like that going our way."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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