Marty Reasoner figured it would be tough to top his last visit to Edmonton.
Two years ago, as a member of the Atlanta Thrashers, Reasoner scored the overtime winner against his former Edmonton Oilers teammates.
On Sunday, he was back at Rexall Place ó this time as a member of the Florida Panthers. And while he didnít pot an overtime winner, Reasoner did score a pair of goals against the Oilers, setting off a chorus of boos from the big crowd that watched Edmonton skate to a 3-2 victory.
ďI used to hear it when I was here, so Iím used to it,Ē smiled Reasoner. ďItís nice. I spent a big part of my life here and I learned a lot about the game and met a lot of great people.
ďThereís definitely more incentive when you come back to a place like this. Itís a great atmosphere, great hockey, a great community and I was happy to be able to chip in a little bit. But not getting the win kind of sours the whole thing.Ē
The two goals has Reasoner, 33, halfway to last seasonís total output, when he finished with four goals and 13 assists in 80 games for Atlanta.
He got the Panthers on the board in the second period, snapping a shot over the shoulder of Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin.
Then, with his team down 3-1, Reasoner banged a rebound past Khabibulin.
ďI thought we got contributions from everybody, but on a night when your thirdĖ and fourth-line guys chip in, you should win,Ē said Panthers head coach Peter DeBoer.
ďIf we can get contributions from our depth guys all year, we should be in pretty good shape.Ē
Reasoner spent parts of six seasons with the Oilers, although he missed the Stanley Cup run in 2006 after being dealt to the Boston Bruins for Sergei Samsonov just prior to the trade deadline.
Reasoner re-signed with the Oilers that off-season and played two more campaigns before joining the Thrashers.
ďItís good to come back,Ē Reasoner said prior to the game. ďItís fun when you come back to places where you lived for a long time. Itís been well documented that there have been a lot of changes here, so itís a little different that way. There are not as many familiar faces, but coming back here is always fun.Ē
Reasoner spent two years in Atlanta before being traded to Florida via Chicago this off-season.
ďIím starting to get used to it down there,Ē Reasoner said. ďI keep going farther south. I donít know if Iím going to end up in Mexico my next stop.
ďBut itís good. Itís fun, itís obviously a little bit different in Florida. Hockey is not a front-page thing, itís not the topic that everyone is talking about. But thatís not always a bad thing.
ďSometimes itís good, and you can go about your business and not worry about the scrutiny.Ē
Fortunately for the Oilers, Reasoner wonít be back this way with the Panthers for at least another two seasons.
ďI didnít know if I could outdo the last time with the OT winner, so I didnít want to come back,Ē he said before the game.
ďI wanted to let that settle in for a year or two and then come back.Ē