SUN Hockey Pool

Moreau a quick starter

SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 11:27 AM ET

Ethan Moreau was one of the few Edmonton Oilers who looked alive during the first period of Thursday's game against Detroit.

The Wings were taking it to the Oil, but Moreau's ferocious forecheck was wreaking some havoc on the attack. In the end, Moreau's work paid off with an Oiler comeback that in large part was cued up by his nifty shorthanded tally that came on the third of four assists by Shawn Horcoff in the third period.

"Horc made a great play. It was 1-on-3 and he had the presence of mind to stop up and look for a trailer," said Moreau. "Any time you get a shorthanded goal it makes a big difference."

Moreau completed the effort by eluding a pokecheck by goalie Chris Osgood and then putting the puck, and himself, into the net. It was an executive-level finish by a blue-collar employee.

"Ethan plays like that every night. When he scores it's normally a big goal at a crucial time," said head coach Craig MacTavish. "There's been five or six big goals scored here in the last few years and Ethan's certainly been in on a number of them. Players like that who put in the effort every night will find a way to score big goals and that's the case with a guy like Ethan - a good character guy."

LESS SAID THE BETTER: There was no need for MacTavish to say anything to Chris Pronger after the Oil blueliner's horrendous giveaway that resulted in a goal by Mikael Samuelsson Thursday night. Pronger's cross-ice breakout wound up being a perfect on-the-tape feed to the Wings winger who rifled the puck behind Jussi Markkanen.

"He's harder on himself than anybody could be and he knew (the mistake) the minute he made it," noted MacTavish.

INJURY UPDATE: Ty Conklin's wonky groin is on the mend, but he's not expected to be in the lineup tonight although MacTavish figured the struggling netminder isn't far off. As for Cory Cross and Igor Ulanov, they're also getting closer to a state of readiness but there's no rush considering the steady play of the Double-D tandem of Danny Syvret and Dan Smith.

"It's given us the luxury of being patient," said MacTavish. "They've given us good solid minutes so we're not going to put anybody back in until they're 100%.

"Danny's made some good plays with the puck. He's made some mistakes and got into trouble but that's not going to last long because he's a very heady player. Dan Smith makes the predictable plays which I like and he's a good positional player."


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