3rd-period woes hurt Oilers
Last Updated: Monday, December 10, 2007 | 9:57 AM MT
Apparently, the Edmonton Oilers are burdened by a slow learning curve.
The Oilers have allowed at least three goals in the third period in each of their last two games, a 4-2 loss to Pittsburgh last Wednesday and a 4-3 decision to St. Louis two days later.
Oilers forward Shawn Horcoff is riding a six-game point streak (four goals and six assists).
(Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press)
Edmonton will try to address its third-period woes when the team travels to Dallas to take on the Stars Monday.
Against Pittsburgh, the Oilers sat on a 2-0 lead, but allowed a pair of goals in a 21-second span that led to a four-goal rally by the Penguins in the third period. Edmonton again let its guard down while tied 1-1 against the Blues, coughing up two goals within 54 seconds in the final frame.
The Blues' loss left a bitter taste in Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert's mouth, especially after the team's collapse against the Penguins.
"It's two games in a row we've allowed three third-period goals, you think we'd learn from [Wednesday], but we didn't," Gilbert said.
"We gave up some untimely goals and it cost us again," added Edmonton forward Dustin Penner. "It's a lack of focus, especially when you enter the third period tied with a team that is as good as St. Louis. You have to kick it up a notch. And we didn't.
"It seems like right now it is two steps forwards and one step back. We have to start moving forward again."
"Moving forward" could prove to be difficult, though, as the Oilers have stumbled against the Stars since the 1998-99 NHL season. Since then, Dallas sports a 22-6-3 record with one tie against Edmonton, including an 11-game run from 1999-2004 when it won 10 games against the Oilers.
A bright spot for Edmonton has been the play of centre Shawn Horcoff, who is riding a six-game points streak (four goals and six assists). He also has had a great deal of success against Dallas, with four points in his last two games, and five goals and nine assists in 21 career games against the Stars.
Two Oilers who should be motivated to put up a solid game are Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres. Both were healthy scratches on Friday for the first time in their NHL careers.With files from the Associated Press
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