Oilers fail to ignite against Stars 0
The evening began with fans at Rexall Place pouring lungs-full of wrath on former Oiler Sheldon Souray, but it didn't take long before their anger shifted from the former Oiler to the current ones.
Losing at home to a team that wasn't even trying to score any goals seemed much more infuriating than anything the big defenceman ever did, especially when the 3-1 defeat was Edmonton's sixth in the last seven home games.
The Stars, playing not to lose, and not even, really, to score, accomplished both goals with relative ease.
"In the third period they had five guys back, it was like the Germans (soccer team) back there," said Shawn Horcoff. "When you're playing teams that are fighting for their lives and they get one- or two-goal leads, they're going to sit back and be stingy. That's what they were tonight.
"Our effort was there, we were just short a few bounces."
Souray's first visit to Edmonton since his bitter breakup with team management made soccer look fun by comparison. It was awful - another of those chess matches we're seeing more and more of lately, where the big defensively solid team comes to town and shut down the game, leaving Edmonton powerless to generate anything but boredom and frustration.
The Stars, with two shots in the first 16 minutes, seemed perfectly content to play for the scoreless tie. The Oilers had no choice.
"They do a good job of getting in your lanes and taking away your speed, they're a tough team to play against," said Sam Gagner. "You look at the difference tonight: they went to the net a couple of times and got some bounces, but the only way you get those is if you're there battling away."
The Oilers weren't, so Dallas, despite just 10 shots through 40 minutes, had a 2-0 lead at the second intermission.
Former Oiler Radek Dvorak got position on Eric Belanger and put Dallas on the board at 8:35 and four minutes after that, Corey Potter crashed into Nikolai Khabibulin during a scramble, leaving former Edmonton Oil King Tomas Vincour to score the easiest goal he'll ever see.
"We made two really poor net plays at our end," said Renney. "That was the difference in the game, otherwise we were OK."
That's not how the fans saw it. If you closed your eyes and just listened, you're have sworn Souray had the puck on his stick the whole third period for all the booing.
"I'm frustrated now," said Renney. "But I have no problem with it being 0-0 with five minutes to go, that means you're doing a lot of things right away from the puck. We just have to understand that that's a function of how this game goes sometimes, especially at this time of year when yo;re not likely to get too many opportunities on the power play."
A team that does the majority of its damage with the man advantage didn't get a single power play.
"We didn't have a bad game, we just didn't put enough pucks on their net or drive the net as hard as we should have," said Ladislav Smid. "It's a tough one. overall I thought it was a pretty good game for us. But it seems to be a problem for us to play against those defensive teams.
"It's pretty frustrating for us, but we stuck with it and generated some chacnes, we just weren't able to capitalize, which sucks."
In their last six games in Edmonton, the Oilers scored 1-2-2-1-2 and 1 goals. That's nine goals in six games for the home town crowd. Not too cool for a team that's 9-20-2 on the road
LATE HITS: The Oilers blew town immediately after the game, jetting to Palm Springs for a golf trip in advance of their two-game California swing through Anaheim and San Jose.
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