SUN Hockey Pool

He's all substance

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:26 AM ET

Alexander Ovechkin created the buzz at Rexall Place last night, but it was Ryan Smyth's substance over the talented Russian's style that helped the Edmonton Oilers get two points they desperately needed in a 4-0 win.

With the Oilers coming off 6-2 drubbings in Anaheim and Phoenix, Smyth earned another entry in the franchise record books with his 107th power-play goal to open the scoring. Dwayne Roloson made it stand up as the winner with his 19th career shutout.

TIED KURRI

The goal tied Smyth with hall-of-famer Jari Kurri for third-place in career power-play goals, behind only Glenn Anderson and Wayne Gretzky, as the Oilers improved to 6-0-0 at home - tying a team record for wins to open a season.

That's some kind of company.

"Those guys, they were unbelievable," said Smyth, who'd gone six games without a goal. "I don't know how many games Jari did it in, but it's always a nice feeling to be in that kind of company.

"Those ex-Oilers mean a lot. Not only to this team, but to me personally. Everybody knows I was a huge Oiler fan growing up."

Goals by Smyth, who broke Gretzky's team record for fastest hat-trick on Oct. 12, Fernando Pisani, Joffrey Lupul and Marty Reasoner and 19 saves by Roloson, who gave up a half-dozen on 20 shots against the Ducks, got it done as the Oilers beat the Caps for the seventh straight time.

"We talked the last couple games about what we need to do to win hockey games," Roloson said. "We have a lot of skill up front, but we still have to put the hardhats on.

"We have to do the little things. Tonight, we did. We executed our game plan right the way we wanted it. It was awesome. It was great to watch from back there."

Smyth, 30, the longest-serving Oiler with 728 games on his NHL resume, made it 1-0 with Alexander Semin in the box when he took a pass from Joffrey Lupul, then blew a slapper past Brent Johnson top shelf on the glove side 11:43 into the game.

Smyth's milestone wasn't his typical crash-bang-and-shovel-it-in effort. In fact, Smyth did a pretty good imitation of No. 17 the way he hummed it past Johnson.

SURPRISE THE GOALIE

"Every once in awhile I'll take a shot and maybe surprise the goalie because I'm not recognized as a shooter," smiled Smyth.

"I did catch that one pretty good and he did get a piece of it, but it went in. If that's what it takes to get in, great."

Ovechkin had his moments, but so did Roloson, who shook off his tough night in Anaheim.

Ovechkin had Washington's only good chance in the first period, but Roloson stiffed him with a glove grab at 18:55.

Roloson made another save off Ovechkin early in the second.

Unlike the efforts in Anaheim and Phoenix, the Oilers defensive play in front of him didn't resemble a fire drill.

"It starts with your goaltender," coach Craig MacTavish said.

"He had to make a number of real good quality stops."

Around the rink ...

Jarett Stoll, who tweaked his back during a morning skate in Phoenix, was in the line-up and picked up his 100th NHL point with an assist on Smyth's goal . . . Toby Petersen, recalled from Iowa as insurance if Stoll couldn't go, played with Marty Reasoner and Brad Winchester, leaving Alexei Mikhnov, J.F. Jacques and Jan Hejda as healthy scratches.


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