Talk wasn't cheap

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:35 AM ET

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- They talked Monday.

Last night, in the wake of a team meeting to address concerns during a losing streak that had grown to four games, the New Jersey Devils let their actions do the talking as the Edmonton Oilers came calling, looking to add to their misery.

On a night Ty Conklin's first appearance in goal for the Oilers since Oct. 21 was supposed to be the storyline, the Devils got their due thanks to a big goal by little man Brian Gionta and 29 saves from Martin Brodeur in a workmanlike effort that produced a 2-1 shootout win.

Speak volumes, they did.

"He was really good at the other end," said Conklin, tipping his cap to Brodeur. "Any time you play New Jersey, you've got to count on facing, at the very least, good goaltending and, generally, great goaltending."

CONDITIONING STINTS

Conklin, looking to forget a frustrating start to the season that's included two conditioning stints in the AHL, was very good.

He made 26 saves and was unyielding on a night he could have been a bundle of nerves.

But Brodeur, the victim of some lousy special teams during New Jersey's skid, was better when it mattered.

He stopped Jarret Stoll and Ales Hemsky in the shootout as goals by Viktor Kozlov and Gionta decided it.

"We knew coming in they hadn't won a game in four, so we knew we were going to get their best game," Conklin said. "I think it was a good game all-around."

It took the Devils 10 minutes to get their first shot on Conklin. He stopped that, but the Devils were carrying the play when they made their second one count as Richard Matvichuk found twine with a seeing-eye slapper through traffic from the point 11:51 in for a 1-0 lead.

Conklin had his moments. One of them, a glove save on Scott Gomez in the slot after a giveaway six minutes into the second, kept the Oilers close until Cory Cross tied it with a lucky one, two minutes later -- his shot from a sharp angle banked off Jamie Langenbrunner and past Brodeur.

"You can't put a debilitating amount of pressure on yourself with the mindset, 'This is my one chance.' It's not his one chance," coach Craig MacTavish said of Conklin.

"He's going to have an opportunity to get playing. What we want to see out of Ty is just a good solid game. He doesn't have to be spectacular. We don't expect him to be spectacular. Just play the game like he knows he can."

That much Conklin delivered. The difficulty for the Oilers was Brodeur, who seemed intent on pulling the Devils out of their skid by himself as the Oilers came hard in the second and didn't stop in the third.

Ethan Moreau had Brodeur beaten on the glove side four minutes into the final period, but rattled the rubber off the pipe. In overtime, Brodeur stopped Chris Pronger in tight on a 2-on-1.

Conklin matched that with a glove grab on Gionta with 90 seconds to go in OT, setting up the shootout.

COULDN'T FIND NET

When Stoll and Hemsky couldn't find net and with Kozlov having already scored, it came down to the five-foot-seven Gionta, who tucked a backhand high past Conklin to close the deal.

"We're just trying to get better," Devils coach Larry Robinson said. "We're still in the hunt. As bad as everybody is saying we're playing and everything else, we're right there."

OILERS DO A DEAL: The Oilers swung a minor trade yesterday, obtaining 25-year-old forward Blake Evans from the St. Louis Blues for future considerations.

Evans, originally a ninth-round pick of the Washington Capitals in 1998, has been playing with Peoria of the AHL and will remain with the Rivermen. He's scored 4-7-11 in 26 games.

AROUND THE RINK ... The Oilers sent rookie Matt Greene back to Iowa of the AHL before the game to make room on the roster for Radek Dvorak ... Dvorak aggravated his groin in the second period and didn't play in the third. He'll be evaluated today.


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