Oilers slip and slide towards record run of futility

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Edmonton Oilers have fallen a long way from the team that won five Stanley Cups in the 1980s, wallowing at the bottom of the NHL standings and mired in a winless streak nearing franchise record proportions.

The Oilers have yet to win this year and are two losses shy of matching the franchise's longest winless streak of 14 games that was set a little over 16 years ago.

The record belongs to the 1993-94 edition of the Oilers, who had 13 losses and one tie from October 11 to November 7, but the current squad moved one game nearer the mark with a 2-1 defeat against a shot-shy St Louis on Thursday.

"It's getting frustrating. Obviously, it sucks losing and you just don't want to make a habit of it," Oilers center Mike Comrie told reporters.

"Right now it's not easy finding ways to win but we've got to find a way and we've go to do it as quick as we can."

Edmonton's next game is against division rival Calgary, the same team that kicked off the current slide on December 31. Luckily for the Oilers, the Flames are also struggling, having lost nine straight games.

Edmonton (38) has the fewest points in the 30-team NHL and are 17 points off the total they had amassed at the same stage a year ago and five points behind the 29th ranked Carolina Hurricanes.

During the winless stretch, Edmonton has lost all but two games in regulation, earning two points of a potential 24 and have averaged just under two goals per game.

"We've got our mistakes down and unfortunately we pay dearly, it seems like, for mistakes we make."

Led by Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky, the Edmonton Oilers won the Stanley Cup in 1984, 1985, 1987 and 1988. Without Gretzky, they won again in 1990.

(Writing by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by John O'Brien)