SUN Hockey Pool

Oil undefeated in 2008

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

ST. LOUIS -- A new year, a different story but with a similar twist.

Head coach Craig MacTavish predicted the Edmonton Oilers would probably go into a shootout against the St. Louis Blues last night because one of the team's best shooters was a healthy scratch.

As it turned out, Sam Gagner was not needed as Dustin Penner scored in overtime to give the Oilers a 3-2 win.

SECOND GOAL

The goal was Penner's second of the contest and helped the Oilers snap a six-game losing skid.

"The whole stretch that we've had here, we've been playing pretty well, but as a coach you worry the guys are going to start getting frustrated because of the amount of effort they're putting in every night," MacTavish said.

"To have things go wrong has been disappointing to say the least, so it's nice to see that we battled through some pretty good adversity in the third period, in terms of the amount of penalties we had."

Penner was able to corral a rebound in front of the net and slide it past Blues goaltender Hannu Toivonen in the extra frame.

Penner also scored the go-ahead marker in the third period.

"I knew with Stolli (Jarret Stoll) and Shelly (Sheldon Souray) back there they were just going to take shots and eventually the puck would lie there and I could collect it and put it in the net," Penner said. "That's what happened.

"It's been a while since we've been able to pull out a win. The last three games for whatever reason we were losing in the third. Tonight we just wanted to go out there and figured if we were going to lose it we were going to die by the sword."

The Oilers did give the Blues plenty of opportunities in regulation to win the game, taking three consecutive penalties in the third period.

However, they were able to kill off all three penalties, get into overtime and earn a powerplay of their own.

"I don't know what it is, it's not like they were all necessarily bad penalties," said Oilers defenceman Tom Gilbert. "We got a high stick here and then something else happens. But our penalty kill has been pretty good of late and it came up huge tonight."

Last night the Oilers found themselves in an all-too-familiar predicament.

The issue was still in doubt late in the third period, mainly due to the play of Mathieu Garon who finished with 31 saves.

The Blues opened the scoring in the first period when a shot from the point bounced off the heel of Garon's glove to David Perron of the easy tap-in.

Gilbert tied the game in the second period, blowing a point-shot past Toivonen.

GOAL ON FIRST SHOT

It was the first shot the Blues goaltender would face in the contest having replaced starter Emmanuel (formally known as Manny) Legace, who took a puck in the head during the warm-up.

Had the Oilers known this, they probably would have tried to direct more than three shots on the Blues goaltender in the opening frame.

Regardless the Blues starter left the game and was not seen on the bench at the start of the second.

In the third Penner put the Oilers in front, taking a pass from Robert Nilsson, going in all alone and faking Toivonen out of his equipment. David Backes tied the game later in the period.

"It's a move I have in the vault," Penner said. "It's a move I've been trying to perfect and I was able to use it tonight."

ICE CHIPS: Sheldon Souray has been sent home to have his shoulder examined. It's expected Souray will miss tonight's start in Nashville.


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