Sens hand Oilers fourth straight loss

Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin can't keep Ottawa's Colin Greening from scoring during the Edmonton...

Edmonton's Nikolai Khabibulin can't keep Ottawa's Colin Greening from scoring during the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey game against the Ottawa Senators at Rexall Place in Edmonton on November 17, 2011. (CODIE MCLACHLAN/QMI AGENCY)

Robert Tychkowski, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 1:01 AM ET

EDMONTON - Couldn't get a save. Couldn't get a call. Couldn't get a break.

Couldn't even get six healthy defencemen to the starting gate. Couldn't get five defencemen to the third period.

It's like all the good fortune that went Edmonton's way in the first month of the season turned evil on them in one miserable evening.

On a night when just about everything that could go wrong did, including the weather, the Oilers lost for the fourth time in a row and the fifth time in six games, a 5-2 smack in the mouth courtesy of the Ottawa Senators.

"Right now we're pretty pissed off with our performance," said defenceman Theo Peckham. "You can't just sit back and say it's OK that we lost because we only had four D. It doesn't matter if you only have 10 guys dressed, you have to get the job done and we didn't."

Not by a long shot. And not for a while now. The Oilers have been outscored 20-8 in their last four.

"I think there's some holes in our game that we need to fix and we need to fix fast," said winger Taylor Hall, who had five shots, but finished minus two with no points. "How you bounce back from losing streak is kind of what determines your place in the standings and we have to get out of this losing streak as fast as we can.

"It's not like we don't have the skill or the wherewithal to do it, we were doing it early in the season, and we have to get back to that."

The first sign that there might be trouble came when defenceman Andy Sutton was scratched before the game even started. He took the pre-game skate but couldn't go and with no other defenceman up with the big team (Doh!), the Oilers were forced to play with five ... until Corey Potter got hurt and couldn't start the third and they had to go with four.

It was that kind of night.

But, again, Peckham says the Oilers have nothing to blame but weak play.

"At the end of the day you create your own luck," said Peckham. "When you're in the kind of slump we're in, you're not going to get the same bounces that you get when you're winning four or five in a row. But when you don't control the things you can, that's when it becomes an issue."

Edmonton started well enough and had a handful of decent scoring chances in the opening moments... before everything turned horribly wrong.

The Senators scored on their first two shots of the game, at 7:30 and 7:39 and the Oilers would never recover. A late and rather long one from Milan Michalek at 19:03 made it 3-0 at the first intermission.

That was it for netminder Nikolai Khabibulin, who got the hook in the dressing room after giving up three goals on seven shots. After the electrifying start, Khabibulin has given up 11 goals in the last seven periods.

The Oilers started scrambling in the second and trailed 4-1 after 40.

"As older guys on the team we have to take it on our shoulders to come out and have a strong second period," said Shawn Horcoff. "Our line was obviously minus (three) and that's not good enough. We need to be the line that kind of goes out there and is the calming influence in the lineup that everyone can kind of count on to play solid defensively and at both ends of the night and tonight wasn't the night."

Things continued to spiral downward in the third period. Potter didn't make it out for the final 20 because of an ankle injury and Zenon Konopka made it 5-1 in the opening minutes to remove all doubt about how this thing was going to end.

Next up, Chicago.

robert.tychkowski@sunmedia.ca

@SUN_TYCHKOWSKI


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