(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.
“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.
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.
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.