The consolation prize was two points.
That's as good as it got for the Edmonton Oilers as the Carolina Hurricanes came calling at Rexall Place last night, and they'll happily take them after a 3-1 win in the first meeting of the teams since Game 7 of the Stanley Cup final last spring.
While that's not exactly what the Oilers would call vindication after watching the Hurricanes swill champagne at the RBC Center June 19, goals by Brad Winchester, Jason Smith, Fernando Pisani and a rock-solid night by Jussi Markkanen did the trick in the rematch.
First things first.
With Dwayne Roloson getting a night off after 24 appearances in 26 games and a 4-0 shutout in Vancouver Monday, Markkanen, between the pipes after Roloson was felled by a knee injury in Game 1 of the Cup final, got his first win since a 2-1 decision over the Canucks Oct. 17.
Markkanen made a second-period goal by Smith, his first in 54 games, stand up as the winner as the Oilers snapped a three-game losing streak on home ice and got at least a small measure of revenge for last spring.
Making his first start since a 5-3 defeat in St. Louis Nov. 12 after spelling off Roloson in losses to Colorado and Columbus last week, Markkanen stopped all 11 shots Carolina directed his way in the opening 20 minutes.
Up 1-0 when Winchester sifted a softy past playoff MVP Cam Ward from a sharp angle, Markkanen had no chance on a Carolina's 1-1 goal, a nifty re-direction by Craig Adams 11:58 into the second.
Then came Smith, who hadn't bulged twine since Jan. 21, 2006 against Phoenix. Smith's slapper off a face-off win by Raffi Torres rattled through traffic in front and past Ward with a minute to go in the second period.
When Pisani made it 3-1 less than two minutes into the third period after seven games without a goal, Markkanen had all the margin he needed.
AROUND THE RINK: Jarret Stoll hobbled off in the first period after being hit on the left foot by a Bret Hedican, had X-rays during the first intermission and returned for the second period ... Brad Winchester's goal was his fourth of the season and first at home ... Jan Hejda and the recently recalled Alexei Mikhnov were the Oilers' healthy scratches.