‘Fate’ deals the Oil a blow against the Avs

(Sakic’s happy face)

As badly as the game started for the Edmonton Oilers against the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center last night, it ended even worse.

If giving up two goals in the first eight minutes was a kick in the head, roaring back to take a 4–3 lead only to allow a goal by Joe Sakic with six seconds left in regulation time on the way to a 5–4 shootout loss was a blow that landed well south of the beltline.

It’s tough to march into the playoffs doubled over.

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“I don’t know really what to say about it,” said coach Craig MacTavish after losing back-to-back games for the first time in a month. “I can’t really describe the disappointment.”

The single point moves the Oilers within two points of the Nashville Predators and Vancouver Canucks—both hold one game in hand—but the margin going into Calgary tonight with the season hanging in the balance should have been one point, not a deuce.

With Jose Theodore on the bench for an extra-attacker, Sakic picked up loose puck in front and chipped it up and over Dwayne Roloson to set the stage for the shootout, where he beat Roloson along with Wojtek Wolski and Milan Hejduk.

Lose in Cowtown, and it’s all over but the mathematics—while the floundering Canucks are in a death-spiral and can be caught, Nashville plays the Sisters of the Poor the rest of the way.

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After facing Detroit, the men from Music City have three games against teams already booking tee times with a pair against St. Louis and one against Chicago.

“I know we deserved a better fate than what we got tonight,” MacTavish said. “The bottom line for us is we’re playing good hockey. We played a good game in Minnesota. We played real well here again tonight.”

Sorry, coach. The bottom line is the blown point. There are no bonus points in the standings for effort.

Unlucky 13

In what’s a near statistical impossibility at this point in the season, Tom Gilbert, Jarret Stoll, Curtis Glencross and Sam Gagner all scored their 13th goals of the campaign.

Gibby gets it

With a goal and an assist, Gilbert has established a team record for rookie defencemen with 33 points, passing Paul Coffey. Gilbert has 13-20-33, while Coffey’s mark was 9-23-32.

—Listen to Robin Brownlee every Thursday from 4 to 5pm on Total Sports with Bob Stauffer on Team 1260.

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  • Wanye Gretz

    1 point closer to the playoffs, or 1 game closer to sand traps?

    We must think about it and reserve judgement until tomorrow.

    And now, a barrel of rubbing alcahol

  • RobinB

    Steve: I have many sets of eyes and ears around the NHL, "inside" contacts cultivated over many, many seasons. Nothing happens or is said around the team without me knowing about it.

    . . . I steal them off the radio.

  • bcjames

    Hey Robin,

    I really enjoy your work. I was surprised and disappointed when you left the Sun as I thought you were the best of all the Oilers beat writers. If I may ask a personal question, what happened?

  • TonyRomo

    Is bcjames kidding? Robin can you tell us all of your personal stories, no matter how private?

    I'll tell one first. This one time I was having a colonoscopy and….

    come on

  • David S

    If by "fate" you mean "Garon getting injured" and "the Avs" you mean "making the playoffs", then I would agree with you 100%

    Seriously. It pains me to say it, but with Garon in, I think we would have 3 more points than we do right now. Last night, Roli (especially in the shootout) was depressing, to put it mildly.

    A good part of the reason for our SO success has been attributed to the fact that the guys felt overwhelmingly confident that they would win because they knew Garon would stop just about everything thrown at him. I'd even go so far as to label him a SO specialist. Last night, other than Robert's amazing move, that confidence was not to be seen.

  • Bill Huard

    Well, just for the sake of argument, 89's been terrible at the SO for about his last 11 or 12 attempts so I wouldn't have had him in the SO and I damn well would not have put him ahead of Hemsky.

    Have to give the Oilers a lot of credit for not getting down after falling behind early last night. It would've been easy to see an early 2-0 road-hill as unclimbable but the kids dug in and outchance the Avs just like they did two nights prior in Minny.

  • bcjames

    Sorry to hear that. I had been living abroad for the past five years and your Sun stories and CHED were the only links I had to the Oilers. I'm glad you're still writing and I wish you best of luck with your case.

  • docweb

    David- 3 goals last night in SO vs Garon's total in 10 shootouts…just plain bad. Having said that Rollie has probably played as well as we could have hoped for since he came in (especially since he had not played for a long while). Somewhat like Jussi in 06 actually, so I'm willing to cut him a little slack.

  • RobinB

    DavidS: The "real" story with Garon is that his ankle has not responded well to treatment and rest, even after having a cortisone shot. Unless the Oilers make the playoffs, I suspect he's done for the season.