SUN Hockey Pool

Oilers phlatten Phoenix

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 9:09 AM ET

The only things missing were a giant anvil on the side of a cliff and an Acme van full of dynamite.

Everything else on Road-runners vs Coyotes night went exactly as planned.

Exactly as Craig MacTavish planned, anyway.

Wayne Gretzky, on the other hand, was probably expecting more from his guys than the windburned defeat Edmonton hung on them last night at Rexall Place.

"It's nice to get the offence early," said MacTavish, whose club skated circles around the visitors, building a 5-1 lead after 40 minutes and cruising to the finish line.

"There's more good things happening right now than we've had in a while, so we're thankful for that."

Four different players had multi-point nights as the Oilers, who've scored nine goals in their last two games, extended their win streak to three, while ending the Coyotes' run at five.

"We're getting balanced scoring," added Shawn Horcoff, who turned in his third straight two-point game. "I can't remember the last time we scored two quick goals like that. It really set the tempo."

After a 5-10 start to the season, the Oilers are 15-11-4 in their last 29 games.

"It helps our confidence to get three wins in a row, especially in our home building," said Denis Grebeshkov.

"Before these three games our record wasn't very good at home (now it's 10-10-3). I guess we have to keep going, finish up strong in these last two games."

The Oilers got down to business early, scoring on their first two shots on Ilya Bryzgalov (Ethan Moreau at 1:47 and Brodziak at 2:15) and taking a 3-0 lead on Sheldon Souray's point shot.

Souray wouldn't last the period, though. He took a baseball whack at Shane Doan late in the frame, resulting in a penalty shot (which Mathieu Garon stopped), a five-minute major and a game misconduct.

"That's the first time I've ever seen that," said Souray, still agitated after the game. "But whatever, my opinion doesn't really mean anything. That's life. I'm glad we won."

Without Souray and Joni Pitkanen, who sat out with the flu, the remaining five defencemen, led by Dick Tarnstrom's 25:23 of ice time and Grebeshkov's plus-3 evening, more than held the fort.

Robert Nilsson's breakaway made it 4-0 midway through the second, spelling the end of Bryzgalov, and Grebeshkov's first career goal sealed the deal.

After 4-0 and 5-2 victories, a team that picked up 11 of its first 17 wins in the shootout is finally discovering what it's like to have a little breathing room.

"It makes a big difference; those tight games can get pretty stressful sometimes," said Brodziak, who had a goal and an assist.

"We're doing a lot of the little things right. We're coming out the zone with speed."

Keith Ballard put Phoenix on the board with 3:24 left in the second, ending Garon's shutout streak at 101 minutes and 43 seconds. Nick Boynton scored in the third, then head-butted Zack Stortini in the final seconds.

"It's a dirty play," said MacTavish. "It was the most subtle head-butt I've ever seen, but it's a head-butt. It only looks like it's not that painful if you're not the guy receiving it."


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