SUN Hockey Pool

Check & checkmate

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 6:23 PM ET

The to-do list for the Edmonton Oilers when the Vancouver Canucks straggled into Rexall Place last night was short and sweet - play with energy and do so from the first drop of the puck.

As an aside, it wouldn't hurt if Mike Morrison, yanked after allowing two goals on four shots when he faced the Canucks Dec. 17 - a ham-handed outing that led to a demotion to the minors and cost him a month without an NHL start - was inclined to exact some pay back.

The Oilers ticked off each task - lots of jump, a fast start and a stingy display by Morrison - beating the Canucks a fifth straight time this season, this one by a 3-1 count, to end a five-game losing streak at home.

Check. Check. Check.

"I thought we came out pretty good," said Jarret Stoll, who snapped a 13-game red-light drought with the 2-0 goal that stood as the winner. "We got our feet going. We were doing everything we needed to do to win games."

Ryan Smyth, Stoll and Raffi Torres put pucks behind Alex Auld and Morrison did his part with 16 saves.

The Oilers mustered a determined, workmanlike effort to overwhelm the road-weary Canucks, who were playing their seventh straight game away from home.

The victory not only guaranteed that the Oilers win the season series against the Canucks, it vaulted them over Colorado into seventh place in the Western Conference standings.

They're tied with Los Angeles with 65 points, but the Kings have one more victory.

END OF A ROAD TRIP

"We knew we had them at the end of a road trip and we wanted to take it to them early," Morrison said. "We did a good job of doing that.

"As far as me, I was pumped to play well. I wanted to be sharp and I've been feeling good anyway."

When Smyth tipped Chris Pronger's point shot past Auld on a power play - connecting at a torrid 7-for-24 clip in four previous games against the Canucks - for a 1-0 lead, the joint was really jumping.

"We've had trouble with our starts against Vancouver in our building in the past," coach Craig MacTavish said. "Not so much the first time in here, but we've got a longer history of coming out slowly in our own building.

"We have to have an attack mentality right from the outset. To do that, you have to have your legs underneath you and be mentally and physically ready to play right from the drop of the puck."

LOOKING FOR MORE

The Oilers came out looking for more in the second, carrying the play early yet again thanks to a man advantage when Todd Bertuzzi got the gate for hauling down Todd Harvey.

But Auld was stubborn.

So was Morrison, who swiped what could have been the 1-1 goal off the stick of Anson Carter with a glove save just over nine minutes in, setting the table for Stoll.

Without a goal since Dec. 31, Stoll beat Auld five-hole from a sharp angle with a softie that could have sent the Canucks packing.

Not a chance.

When Daniel Sedin tapped a goalmouth pass from brother Henrik Sedin past Morrison three minutes before the second intermission, the Canucks had some legs.

That was at least until Torres danced into the slot and snapped the rubber past Auld on a power play to make it 3-1 with the Canucks fading fast.

"It's good to help contribute," said Stoll, who not only snapped his slump but went an unheard of 21-1 in the face-off circle. "It's good to get the win. It's a big win for our club. Those are big points in the standings.

"I wanted to take every draw. I just felt good.

''I had the timing down.

''I don't know what it is against Vancouver.

''I seem to do well against them."

AROUND THE RINK ... Pronger's assist on Smyth's 1-0 goal was his sixth point in his last five games ... Igor Ulanov, out for two games with a sore knee, returned to the line-up in a pairing with rookie Matt Greene.


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