The Edmonton Oilers need their best players to perform as such if they are to return to the playoffs after a one-year absence. Lately, though, they haven't produced nearly enough offense and that has resulted in the team's longest losing streak of the season.
The Oilers look to record their first regulation win in exactly one month Wednesday night when they continue a four-game road trip against the St. Louis Blues.
Edmonton (16-20-4), which underwent a franchise-record 12-game losing streak last season, dropped its sixth in a row Monday with a 4-2 loss at Columbus.
Ethan Moreau scored one goal and set up another for the Oilers, who have led or been tied in the third period in each contest during the skid.
"Very disappointing tonight," Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish said. "I thought we played terrific hockey for the better part of the game. That same old play beat us in the end, the back-side empty-netter, really."
The loss dropped the Oilers to 0-4-2 in their last six games. They are 4-6-3 in 13 contests since their last regulation victory - a 4-0 win at Anaheim on Dec. 2.
Shawn Horcoff, the team leader in goals (16) and points (34), was held scoreless for the sixth consecutive game. Defenseman Sheldon Souray, the Oilers' biggest offseason acquisition, has two goals in 15 games after scoring 26 last season with Montreal.
Right wing Dustin Penner, signed to a five-year, $21.5 million contract on July 25, has one goal in his last nine games. Right wing Ales Hemsky, second on Edmonton with 29 points, also has one goal in the last nine games he's played, but has missed the last three with a knee injury.
Mathieu Garon figures to be back in net after backing up Dwayne Roloson against Columbus. Garon has lost his last three starts despite a 2.37 goals-against average in that span.
The Blues (19-14-4) ended a four-game skid in impressive fashion Monday, winning 2-0 at league-best Detroit, which had at least one point in 10 straight home games.
Manny Legace stopped 31 shots for his 20th career shutout, St. Louis' first at Detroit since Jan. 11, 1993.
"The guys played phenomenal for me," said Legace, who played with Detroit from 1999-2006. "You have to bring your A-game (against the Red Wings) or you'll look bad."
Rookie defenseman Erik Johnson snapped the scoreless tie at 5:47 of the third period with his first goal since Nov. 23.
"I was getting a little frustrated because I've been in a drought," Johnson said. "But tonight I was saying, 'Feed me the rock, feed me the rock and I'll pound it.'"
The Blues look to get their offense going at home, where they are 1-4-1 in their last six games, getting shut out in the past two.
Center Andy McDonald is likely to miss his fourth straight game with a pulled chest muscle. He has one goal and four assists in five games with St. Louis since he was acquired from Anaheim.
The Blues are 1-0-1 this season against the Oilers, losing 5-4 in a shootout at home on Dec. 11. St. Louis is 7-1-1 in the past nine overall meetings.