As streaks go this is blue

TERRY JONES -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

PITTSBURGH -- The Edmonton Oilers stopped two streaks here last night.

Sidney Crosby's.

And their own.

The Oilers ended a 10-game point scoring streak for the rookie star. In doing so they stopped a 13-year streak since Edmonton last won a game in Pittsburgh on Feb. 18, 1993.

But the story turned out to be the third streak involved - the blue streak out of the mouth of Penguins coach Michel Therrien after the game.

After Shawn Horcoff registered the first Oiler hat trick since the fedora went out of style to beat the Penguins 3-1 here last night, Therrien produced what might have been the biggest eruption by a coach since Mt. Orval (Tessier) exploded when he coached the Chicago Blackhawks against the Oilers in the playoffs way back when.

"I'm not impressed. It's a pathetic performance," he warmed up.

"Half the team doesn't care!

"It's like 'Are you going to be happy to play eight minutes?' I'm not going to be happy with eight minutes!

"We should take 50% of their salaries because they only played 50% of the time!

WHAT'S THEIR GOAL?

"I'm really starting to believe the goal of our defence is to be the worst defensive squad in the league!

"They're doing the best job to be the worst defensive squad in the league!

"They turn the puck over. They have no vision. They suck!

"I've never seen a bunch of defencemen suck like this!

"The guys don't care! They pretend to care, but I know they don't care!"

As is the case with most Pittsburgh games, other than the Therrien outburst, the focus was on Sidney Crosby.

Chris Pronger, Michael Peca & Co. accepted the challenge of stopping the first significant streak of Crosby's career.

And, as has been happening a lot lately, a young star on the other team came in here and took on the challenge of trying to outstar the new young superstar. Ales Hemsky brought out most of his moves as he dipsy doodled and dangled.

Yet, somehow, Horcoff ended up the hero?

Asked if he knew anything about Shawn Horcoff, Crosby replied "Not much."

If a Gordie Howe hat trick is a goal, an assist and a fight, a Horcoff hat trick is a shorthanded goal, a power-play goal and an even- strength goal - all through the five-hole.

It was Hemsky who, you could tell, would have loved to be the guy who had the hat trick against Crosby.

"Absolutely," said Pronger, who fetched the puck for Horcoff. "It was two younger guys with that type of skill. A lot of eyes were on this game."

Coach Craig MacTavish saw it, too.

"Yeah, he didn't make a play every time he touched the puck, but he tried. He made lots of plays and set up Horcoff for the winner in the second period with a nice pass in front.

"His anticipation seems to be getting better as well. Maybe that's a sign of maturity for him. For a player as young as he is, he viewed that as a challenge. Maybe he's going to have the puck in his hands more often for us now - and that's good news for us."

ARTISTIC IMPRESSION

GM Kevin Lowe laughed.

"He went for the artistic impression, that's for sure," he said of Hemsky trying to put on a show against Crosby.

Plan 'A' in this one was to keep Crosby's hands off the puck.

Pronger played 26:51 and along with the Peca line did a job on Sid the Kid every moment they were out there, limiting him to a pair of first-period shots.

"We knew he had a lot of speed and skill. We tried to deny him the puck," said Pronger.

Peca said playing Crosby the way the Oilers did took much of his game away.

"He's very skilled. And maybe he was trying too hard."

Obviously not the situation with the rest of the Penguins if you listened to Therrien.


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