How many ... not how!

Edmonton Oilers' Petr Sykora, right, scores the winning goal on the Detroit Red Wings' Dominik...

Edmonton Oilers' Petr Sykora, right, scores the winning goal on the Detroit Red Wings' Dominik Hasek during the third period of NHL hockey action at Edmonton's Rexall Place on Saturday, October 21, 2006. The Oilers won 3-1.(CP PHOTO/John Ulan)

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 10:02 AM ET

In the end, how isn't as important as how many.

The Edmonton Oilers had been Exhibit A of that in their first six games this season, and they proved the axiom again last night with a 3-1 home win over the Wings.

Impressive? No. Overwhelming? Not a bit.

One for the video vault? Uh, erase that tape. None of which matters in the standings this morning, as has been the case in five of their seven games.

All that counts is that goals by Steve Staios, Petr Sykora and Joffrey Lupul and 26 saves by Dwayne Roloson was enough to beat the Red Wings in the first meeting of the teams since the first round of playoffs last spring.

Two more points.

"I don't think we played that well the first period," understated Sykora after a yawn-inducing opening 20 minutes. "We kind of just hung in the game and we didn't really create any pressure on them."

Third-period goals by Sykora and Lupul, both on breakaways, in a span of 2:10 was enough to overcome another slow start and give the Oilers their fourth-straight win at home this season and sixth straight dating back to last season.

Sykora did the deed at 13:39 when he took a pass at Detroit's blueline from Ladislav Smid and beat Dominik Hasek for this fifth of the season.

"The second and third period, that's the way we want to be playing," Sykora said. "I thought we played pretty well, even though we've got to have a better power play to win hockey games."

Yes, the power play. Even with the benefit of three of them in the first period, totalling 4:23, the Oilers managed just one shot with the man advantage - none what you'd call a Grade A chance.

"Our power play was bad," said Lupul after the Oilers streak of ineptitude reached 19 power play chances without a goal thanks to an 0-for-5 night. "That's a nice way of putting it.

"In the first, in the second and in the third, our power play was bad all the way. It kind of killed our momentum. If nothing else, we have to generate some momentum on our power play."

Staios, without a goal in 16 games dating back to March 26 last season, got the Oilers started three minutes into the second period. It wasn't one for the highlight reel - a bank shot off the backside of Niklas Kronwall - but it had the desired effect.

The Oilers played with considerably more gusto, if not execution, for the rest of the period, but couldn't make it 2-0 before the second intermission.

It looked like that might cost the Oilers when Pavel Datsyuk tied it, but Sykora and Lupul, who turned a high dump-in by Daniel Tjarnqvist into a breakaway and a 3-1 lead, had other ideas.

"After the first period, I thought we played well," said coach Craig MacTavish.

"I don't know if itis a good thing or a bad thing that weire talking about this after every game," Lupul said. "We're finding ways to win games, and that's No. 1, but we have to get better in all aspects."

AROUND THE RINK: Ethan Moreau sprained his right shoulder in a shoving match with Danny Markov in the final minute and is listed as out day-to-day ... Dwayne Roloson came in with a 3-10-4 career record against Detroit.


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