Ryan Smyth is foiled by Sharks goalie Antti Niemi duriung first-period action Wednesday at Rexall Place. (Reuters)
EDMONTON - They didn’t need a goal, they needed a Heimlich manoeuver.
With the Edmonton Oilers choking badly — having blown their second two-goal third period lead at home in the last three games — they desperately needed someone to dislodge another big chunk of failure from their windpipe.
So a 3-1 lead on the San Jose Sharks with 16 minutes left deteriorated into a 4-3 loss in a shootout. Just like the 2-0 lead over Detroit dissolved into a 3-2 overtime defeat.
More points lost in a race where every single one of them could be the difference between playoff life and death.
“It’s just tough, that’s a game that not only did we need the two points, but I thought we deserved them, for the most part,” Ryan Jones said in a quiet Oilers room.
“We just need to find that little bit of whatever it is to get through the end of the game.”
This one hurt. The Oilers seemed in full control after Sam Gagner and Shawn Horcoff scored first and second period goals and a Jones wraparound made it 3-1 in the third.