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Edmonton Oilers' Marc-Antoine Pouliot celebrates after scoring against the Vancouver Canucks during...

Edmonton Oilers' Marc-Antoine Pouliot celebrates after scoring against the Vancouver Canucks during second period pre-season NHL action at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Wednesday. (Edmonton Sun/Darryl Dyck)

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:36 AM ET

It's hard to tell what it all meant, given the lineup full of stiffs Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault brought to Rexall Place last night.

But you could gather this much from Edmonton's 5-4 pre-season win over the Manitoba Moose: This team can finish.

On nights when their overall game isn't particularly strong, like yesterday, they don't need many opportunities to make the other team pay.

Edmonton managed only four shots in the first period, and scored on two. By the end of the second period they'd converted five of 15 shots and two of six powerplays.

STILL HAVE TO PULL THE TRIGGER

They were skating against wind at times, but you still have to pull the trigger.

"It was a pretty sloppy game," said Joffrey Lupul, who led the way with a goal and two assists. "Nothing against those guys, but they didn't have a lot of veterans dressed. Naslund, the Sedins, they were missing a ton of key guys. It's not a very good measuring stick for us, but we won the game, made some good plays, scored some powerplay goals, so we'll take it for what it's worth."

Which isn't much. The only thing worse than Vancouver's lineup would have been losing to it, which probably would have happened in years when Edmonton didn't have this much touch around the net. But Lupul, probably found comfort in knowing they've got the Jarret Stoll, Fernando Pisani. Ryan Smyth and Marc-Antoine Pouliot saw to it the 16,620 fans went home happy.

"Those guys up front can bury their chances," said defenceman Matt Greene, a shining example that the team toughness they were hoping for is also alive and punching. When the going got tough, Greene, Steve Staios, Jason Smith and Ethan Moreau all made their physical presence felt through fights or timely, tone-setting hits.

"We talked about it before, having to do it by committee, and a lot of guys are doing a good job of it," said Greene, who had a go with Mike Brown after the Canucks winger flattened Tyler Spurgeon earlier in the shift.

"We have the guys who can do it. Everybody in the locker-room is committed to it and we'll be able to rise to the challenge."

The only ones who seemed afraid of the rough stuff were referees Tom Kowal and Brad Watson, who whistled down anything that moved.

But that was fine by the Oilers, given their prowess with the man advantage. The five forward unit of Stoll, Lupul, Horcoff, Smyth and Pisani were throwing it around pretty good out there.

RUN AND GUN THE PLAN

"I don't know what the plan is to start the year, but if that's the plan we're going to have to be a little more cautious and responsible defensively," said Lupul. "It was working well tonight, but a lot can change before the season."

While Vancouver iced just six NHLers, borderline ones at that, the Oilers put out their first and third lines and all six of their opening-night defencemen.

Six rookie forwards also dressed, and while none of them really jumped out at you, Marc-Antoine Pouliot played a solid game. He saw some time on the penalty kill and scored a nice second period goal.

Rob Schremp was a little snake-bitten; he hit the post and set up Stoll for a one-timer that Drew MacIntyre made a fantastic save on. Schremp finished the night -2.


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