Top line stuck it out through lean time

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:53 AM ET

DENVER -- The Edmonton Oilers top line has been struggling in recent games, but Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky remained a threesome against the Colorado Avalanche last night after having a strong game in Saturday's 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks.

Held off the score sheet in three previous games and a combined minus-7, the trio bounced back against the Canucks just as coach Craig MacTavish was contemplating breaking them up.

Smyth scored the 1-0 goal shorthanded on a feed from Horcoff. Smyth finished with the goal, three shots and was even on the night.

Horcoff had the helper, one shot and was even. Hemsky was scoreless and was minus-1, but he had his chances with five shots.

"We've got to keep it going," said Smyth. "We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to compete. We've got to be better than what we have been."

REM ON THE BOARD: Rem Murray's assist on the winning goal by Steve Staios against the Canucks was his first NHL point since Jan. 3, 2004.

"In a meaningful game like that and on a big goal, it was fun," said Murray, who saw Staios tuck his rebound past Alex Auld.

Murray missed the final 43 games of the 2003-04 season with the Nashville Predators when he was struck with cervical dystonia, a condition that kept out of the NHL until the Oilers signed him March 5.


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