EDMONTON - The Edmonton Oilers have come crashing back to reality after a fast start, and now Craig MacTavish finds his club starting its longest road trip of the season on a four-game winless skid.
Dennis Wideman scored 3:18 into overtime and the Boston Bruins blanked the Oilers 1-0 on Monday night. Edmonton (4-3-1) is now on a four-game winless streak after opening the season with four straight wins. And things won't get any easier for the Oilers, who open a gruelling seven-game road trip Thursday in Nashville.
MacTavish said he had hoped for much more from his team's brief stop back in Edmonton following three previous losses on the road.
"I was expecting a lot more and I've seen enough not to expect it now," he said. "Roli kept us in it and we were going to put some window dressing on it if we were able to win the game in overtime or a shootout. But it would have just masked what has been plaguing us for the last number of games, almost since the inception of the season. We haven't as a team been able to dominate anybody. It's time for us to realize that. It was hidden in the record but that is over."
With Shawn Horcoff went off for hooking, Wideman scored his second of the season, beating Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson high to the glove side.
"I shot the puck three times and missed the net," Wideman said. "Then the first time where I couldn't see what I was doing, I hit the net. So I don't know, figure that one out. Maybe I should just close my eyes and drill it at the net all the time."
Roloson, who made just his second start of the season and stopped 35 shots in a strong performance. But that didn't make losing this game any easier.
"It's always hard to take a loss," he said. "It doesn't matter if that goal comes in overtime or on the first shift or the last shift of the game. It's always hard to lose a game. The parameters don't change. It's still frustrating."
Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert felt the team let Roloson down.
"It's frustrating that we couldn't score a goal," he said. "Our goaltender shut them out in regulation and we still couldn't come away with the win. But you have to tip your hat to their goaltender as well, he played great."
Tim Thomas made 27 saves to record his eighth career shutout for the Bruins (4-2-3), who opened up their first two-game winning streak of the season.
"I think it was a good game all around," said Bruins coach Claude Julien. "(Thomas) made some unbelievable saves. Both goaltenders were good and I thought our whole team played a really good road game tonight. We were able to use four lines because our fourth line was really good tonight and kept us fresh for tonight and hopefully for tomorrow night (in Vancouver) as well. We had a lot of guys step up and play well."
The Bruins had the best chance to score in the first period. A shot bounced around in Roloson's equipment and got behind him before being cleared from the crease by defenceman Tom Gilbert.
The goaltenders stood tall in the second period, with Roloson turning aside 24 shots through 40 minutes. Thomas made 15 saves through the first two periods.
Edmonton recorded the best chance of the third period on a nice shot by Erik Cole that Thomas got a leg on before it caromed off the post and out.
Boston outshot Edmonton 34-27 through regulation.
Notes: The Oilers don't play their next home game until they face Toronto on Nov. 13 Edmonton forward Fernando Pisani drew back into the lineup after missing two games with a back injury. On the limp for the Oilers was defenceman Jason Strudwick (shoulder) The only injury listed for the Bruins in the contest was winger Chuck Kobasew, still recovering from a broken leg. However, Kobasew skated for the first time since Boston's season opener this past weekend and may return during the current three-game road trip Boston is the only NHL team to have a winning record against the Oilers at Rexall Place in Edmonton, owning a 15-11-3-1 advantage entering Monday's contest. The Bruins haven't lost to the Oilers since October 17, 2000.