SUN Hockey Pool

Oil too slick for Ducks

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:06 AM ET

ANAHEIM -- As lousy as the Edmonton Oilers were in the first period for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim season opener last night, they were a distant second to Eddie Money as the lamest act at The Pond after 20 minutes.

Mind you, that's faint praise, indeed. At least Money, the 1970's rocker who sang the anthem and later mumbled through an embarrassing rendition of one of his few hits, Two Tickets to Paradise, during the first intermission, had the luxury of skulking out of the rink.

The Oilers, down 2-0 in the first 11 minutes, looked like they might check out early as well, but rallied with three straight power-play goals -- by Raffi Torres, Marty Reasoner and Radek Dvorak -- on the way to a 4-2 win.

"It's good to have a few pucks put away right now," said Torres, who scored his fourth goal of the season when he hit an empty net. "I'm only concerned about the wins. We're putting wins on the board and everybody in the room is ecstatic right now."

On a night Jussi Markkanen looked human against the Ducks for the first time -- he'd shut them out twice and was 3-0 against Anaheim coming in -- an inspired final 40 minutes and the power-play produced Dvorak's winner and the Oilers first 3-0 start since 1996-97.

Teemu Selanne's 1-0 goal, a shot from the high slot that skipped through traffic and eluded Markkanen at 6:36, was no gem. Corey Perry's 2-0 goal, the first of many this kid will score, was worse.

Markkanen, who blanked Anaheim in his first NHL start, a 2-0 win in November 2001, and hadn't allowed the Ducks a goal in 168 minutes spanning three appearances, stopped a Jason Marshall slapshot, but cleared the puck to Perry on his doorstep. Easy money and a 2-0 lead.

Torres got that one back a minute into the second period and Reasoner tied it at 13:22 with the Oilers coming on, setting the table for Dvorak, who shovelled a Chris Pronger rebound past J.S. Giguere.

"Especially the second one," lamented Markkanen of a tough start.

"The guys really made it happen and battled back after that. We came back with a lot of fight after that."

ULANOV AILING: Already without Ryan Smyth, the Oilers are awaiting results of X-rays on Igor Ulanov's ribs to see if they'll have to make due without the big defenceman.

Ulanov sat out last night with damaged rib cartilage, sustained on a hit by Matt Cooke in Saturday's 4-3 shootout win over Vancouver.

AROUND THE RINK: With Todd Harvey scratched (high-ankle sprain), rookie Brad Winchester made his NHL debut, drawing in on the fourth line with Reasoner and Georges Laraque ... Smyth will have his knee re-assessed Friday.


Videos

Photos