SUN Hockey Pool

Mile high Smytty

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 3:21 PM ET

DENVER -- Mile High? You bet he is.

Ryan Smyth's sloppy grin was still in evidence yesterday as the Edmonton Oilers made their way to Colorado in the wake of Thursday's 6-4 comeback win over the San Jose Sharks.

And why not? Smyth not only broke Wayne Gretzky's record for the fastest three goals in franchise history with his third-period hat-trick in a span of 2:01, he surpassed the 500-point plateau with his four-point night and he accomplished both feats in a win.

"The win's the thing," Smyth said. "I just want us to get back to where we were last year. That means the Stanley Cup final and another opportunity at it."

Gretzky held the record for the fastest hat-trick at 2:18 until Smyth went to work in the third period with the Oilers trailing 4-2.

He scored at 4:05, 4:19 and again at 6:06.

"The best player in the world, in my mind," said Smyth, who didn't call a call from the Great One on his feat but did get one from Glenn Anderson. "To be mentioned with him, in even one category, that's really something."

With 501 career points on 237 goals and 264 assists in 720 games, Smyth needs 76 points to catch Doug Weight for sixth place in Oilers career scoring. Not bad for a rink rat from Banff who grew up idolizing the Great One and dreaming of just making it to the NHL.

"You're not thinking about points," Smyth said. "The thought process is, 'Wow, I just want to be an NHL player.

"Five hundred has a nice ring to it. Without my linemates, all the guys I've played with, I couldn't have done it."

HELL FOR LEATHER: Fashion statement or new tradition?

"No comment," smiled Smyth, who wasn't saying after he was seen wearing a familiar-looking jacket after the game and again on the team's flight to Colorado yesterday.

Smyth, who surpassed the 500-point plateau and eclipsed Wayne Gretzky's franchise record for the fastest three goals on the way to being named the first star of the game, was draped in the same long leather jacket - a 1980's bit of disco finery complete with fur collar - Petr Sykora wore on the Oilers' first road trip this season, a flight to Calgary.

After scoring two goals in a 3-1 win over the Flames Oct. 5 and being named the first star, Sykora wore the cheesy jacket to Cowtown for the rematch Oct. 7.

LEAGUE O' NATIONS: It was League of Nations night as the Edmonton Oilers got points from five different nationalities in Thursday's win 6-4 win over the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place.

Norwegian rookie Patrick Thoresen opened the scoring with his first NHL goal and became the first player from Norway to record a point as a member of the Oilers.

"Top shelf, of course," smiled Thoresen, asked how he'll recount the shot that bounced in off him 30 years from now. "It's a goal."

Ryan Smyth led the Canadian contingent with three goals and an assist, while Czech Ales Hemsky scored the Oilers sixth goal and countryman Petr Sykora had two assists.

Swede Daniel Tjarnqvist had an assist, as did American Brad Winchester, getting a helper on Thoresen's goal.

MONEYMAN MAREK: Colorado super-sophomore Marek Svatos scored two goals, including the winner, in a 3-2 victory over Vancouver Sunday to give him 36 career NHL goals.

Remarkably, 11 of the Slovakian winger's 36 goals, or 31 per cent, have been game-winners.


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