The reason for the Edmonton Oilers' losing streak is pretty simple according to coach Craig MacTavish - his team is not scoring enough goals.
The Oilers again try to get their sputtering offense back on track as they look to avoid dropping their sixth straight game when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes on Saturday.
After opening the season with four wins - its best start since winning its first five games in 1985-86 - Edmonton (4-4-1) has recorded just one point in its last five contests.
The Oilers opened a season-high seven-game road trip Thursday with a 3-1 loss to Nashville as Sheldon Souray tallied the lone goal, his second of the season.
Edmonton's offense got off to a solid start to the season, scoring 13 goals during the winning streak, but the team's scored just five times during the skid.
"I have seen it enough to know that we have to be more productive," MacTavish said. "A constant for us has been missed shots. We are not producing offensively. It's that simple."
The Oilers, who have not lost six straight games since Dec. 18-31, have not been to the playoffs since falling to the Hurricanes (5-2-2) in the 2006 Stanley Cup finals.
In their first trip back to Carolina since losing Game 7 of the finals, the Oilers suffered a 7-2 defeat on Jan. 18. Edmonton is 1-3-0 with two ties all-time at Carolina.
While the Oilers' offense is slumping, goaltender Mathieu Garon has also not been as sharp lately. Garon stopped 22 shots Thursday, and has yielded 13 goals in losing his last three games after allowing six in winning his first three.
Backup Dwayne Roloson has been playing better, stopping 66 of 70 shots in his two appearances. He was saddled with a loss in each of those outings, though, as Edmonton failed to score in either game.
Garon is 1-2-0 with a 3.14 goals-against average and a shutout against the Hurricanes. He allowed six goals in 53 minutes before being pulled in their meeting in January.
Roloson is 2-4-0 with a 2.56 GAA in eight career games versus Carolina.
The Hurricanes are coming off a 1-0 win over St. Louis on Thursday to finish their road trip 3-1-2. Left wing Tuomo Ruutu scored the game-winner, as he deflected a slap shot by Eric Staal from just inside the left circle at 9:41 of the third period.
Cam Ward made it stand up with 19 saves for his seventh career shutout.
"That's probably one of the best defensive games that I've seen us play in my three years," said Ward, who improved to 2-0-1 with a 1.62 GAA in his last three games after opening the season 1-1-1 with a 3.29 GAA. "That's a compliment to the guys. They worked really hard."
Ward, who was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy in the 2006 playoffs, made 16 saves in the win over the Oilers in January.
Staal, who leads the Hurricanes with four goals and seven points, recorded a hat trick in that game.