Big-bang win for Oil

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:43 AM ET

One good explosion deserves another.

In their first meeting since Anaheim goalie J.S. Giguere's well-documented blow-up, the Ducks and Oilers reunited last night to blast the roof off of Rexall Place.

On a tough night for goalies and a maddening one for coaches, the teams turned in a 60-minute fireworks display, posting 11 goals, 70 shots, five lead changes and a wild, edge-of-your-seat finish in the shootout.

"We had a great start, up 2-0 seven minutes in, and had an opportunity to take control," said Edmonton assistant coach Craig Simpson, a few hairs greyer after the 6-5 decision. "For once it looked like we wouldn't have to clench our teeth and try to grit one out at the end. It was disappointing the way we gave it back to them.

"It wasn't a Renoir by any stretch of the imagination, but we were able to dig in and get some big goals and some big efforts out of our key guys."

Fernando Pisani scored the shootout winner after Mike Morrison, who came in cold after replacing an ill Jussi Markkanen midway through the third, stopped Chris Kunitz, Teemu Selanne and Corey Perry in their tracks.

"It was tough a little while, not getting anything going," said Pisani who had been mired in a miserable slump before his first goal since Jan 3 tied it midway through the third period. "It was nice to get that one in there, tie the game up and give our team a little jump."

This game was all over the place. Edmonton was up 2-0, down 3-2, up 4-3, down 5-4 and all tied up heading into overtime.

"It was a weird game," said Pisani. "When you have a team down like that you have to make sure you bury them, but we let them back in the game, we made it that much tougher on ourselves."

Ryan Smyth, whose presence in the crease so infuriated Giguere last game, was his usual pain in the net once again, scoring two goals from in close and planting the screen that set up another.

"That's where he makes his living," said Ducks coach Randy Carlyle. "He's maybe the best player in the league in that space."

Whatever works.

"It was a tough battle," said Smyth, adding he and Giguere didn't say a word to each other all game. "It's my job to create havoc and it worked out tonight."

The whole game was havoc. Smyth made it 1-0 at 1:36 (after a ridiculously long video review) and Marc-Andre Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:06. Anaheim roared back, tying it on Andy McDonald and Corey Perry goals 35 seconds apart (9:54 and 10:29).

It was 3-3 after 40, thanks to goals from Chris Kunitz and Smyth.

"They were playing hard," said Smyth. "Every time we got up they were battling back."

Jaroslav Spacek put the Oilers up 4-3 at 5:11 of the third, Todd Marchant tied it 43 seconds later, Scott made it 5-4 Ducks at 7:25 and Pisani tied it on a weak floater that most Peewee B goalies would have had at 10:27.

"I think we all felt good getting to overtime the way this game was going," said Simpson.

And even better going to the shootout, where Morrison is now 5-0, stopping 16 of 19 shots.

"I had an idea there might be a chance I might go in in the third period because Jussi was feeling a little under the weather," said Morrison. "When you get in there you have to keep it simple, warm up and hope you don't get hurt."

The win improves Edmonton to 30-18-7 and gives them breathing room over ninth place Anaheim. "It's huge. At this stage of the game this separates us a little, seven points, I believe," said Smyth. "Onward and upward. We have a huge game against Colorado (today). This is crunch time."


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