SUN Hockey Pool

Johnny on the spot

Oilers' Andrew Cogliano (left) loses his helmet as he collides with Flames' Carsen Germyn during...

Oilers' Andrew Cogliano (left) loses his helmet as he collides with Flames' Carsen Germyn during first period pre-season action in Edmonton on Wednesday. (Sun Media/Darryl Dyck)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:03 AM ET

Andrew Cogliano started last night's game centring the Oilers top line flanked by Ales Hemsky and Dustin Penner.

Whether the Edmonton Oilers rookie starts the season there remains to be seen. But judging by his performance last night and so far throughout the preseason, it's a good bet he'll be centring one of the four lines when the games begin to count.

"He played good again, he definitely got lots of things accomplished out there," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "He looks like he played at this level last year.

"He's got a nose for the net, that's obvious."

OPENED THE SCORING

Cogliano scored the Oilers first goal in a 2-1 exhibition win against the Calgary Flames in front of 16,483 fans at Rexall Place bringing his pre-season total to four.

The Toronto native leads the Oilers in scoring through the preseason with six points.

"I think it was a little bit of a rough goal," Cogliano said.

"I was just in front of the net and we did a good job of getting to the net. The puck was sitting on the goal line for a couple of seconds and I was able to jump in there and score the goal."

Cogliano, 20, scored 24 goals and added 26 assists in 38 games for the University of Michigan Wolverines last season. He also has a pair of gold medals having been a member of Canada's World Junior team the last two years.

So far he's been the revelation of training camp and with one exhibition game left has made a good case to earn a roster spot.

"I think you're still one of the prospects and we're all here battling for jobs," Cogliano said. "If one guy puts in three goals in one game, then he could be back in the mix. But you don't want to think like that. The team hasn't been picked yet."

Sheldon Souray added to the Oilers' lead in the second period, blowing a shot over the shoulder of Flames starter Curtis McElhinney on the power play.

The Oilers were on the man advantage due to a great play by Ales Hemsky who undressed Flames defenceman Adam Pardy and went in all alone on McElhinney, forcing Cory Sarich to take a hooking penalty.

Thirteen seconds into the power play, Hemsky fed Souray for his point shot.

Earlier in the period, Hemsky was sent in all alone by Joni Pitkanen and awarded a penalty shot after getting hooked off the puck. However, the Oilers winger was unable to convert, firing a shot high over the net.

Cogliano started the game on the Oilers top line, then moved down to play on a couple of different units.

"Andrew's really fast and he can skate with you," Hemsky said. "That's a really good help for me. When somebody can skate like that it's good."

The Flames pulled one back in the third period when Adrian Aucoin fired a shot past a screened Dwayne Roloson in the Oilers net.

Roloson came up big minutes later, stopping Kristian Huselius on a breakaway. He finished with 27 saves.

The Oilers wrap up the exhibition season on Saturday by hosting the Vancouver Canucks.

SEVERAL CUTS MADE

The Oilers sent nine players to their AHL affiliate in Springfield yesterday before the game, then another four after, reducing their roster to 34. Gone are defencemen Sebastien Bisaillon, Danny Syvret and Bryan Young, forwards Troy Bodie, Fredrik Johansson, Ryan O'Marra, Liam Reddox, Rob Schremp and Viacheslav Trukhno.

After the game Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish announced Tim Sestito, Devan Dubynk, Ben Simon and Jonas Almtorp were sent down also ... Anson Carter skated for the first time Tuesday since suffering a concussion against Toronto.


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