SUN Hockey Pool

Coyotes skinned by Oil

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:43 AM ET

Just win, babies.

The next generation of Edmonton Oilers, who've officially taken this team over and made it their own, continue to breathe life into a season that looked stone cold dead a few weeks ago.

The rookies and near-rookies combined for a whopping 13 points last night in leading Edmonton to a crucial 8-4 decision over the Phoenix Coyotes at Rexall Place.

The win was the Oilers'10th in 12 games and moved them to within five points of eighth place, a gap they can close to three with a win over Vancouver tomorrow.

As usual, it was the kids who led the way.

Led the way? Check that, they carried the team to victory.

Tom Gilbert scored the first goal, from Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson.

Gagner scored the second, from Pitkanen and Hemsky.

Curtis Glencross drew the penalty that lead to Edmonton's third goal, Nilsson from Hemsky and Gilbert.

Kyle Brodziak scored shorthanded, from Andrew Cogliano, to give Edmonton a 4-2 lead.

Gagner's sweet-looking pass set up Dustin Penner's third goal in 18 games to make it 5-4 Edmonton in the third.

Glencross slid in the insurance goal to make it 6-4.

The seventh goal? Marc Pouliot from Glencross and Brodziak.

In a pressure game with their season hanging in the balance, they rose to the occasion and then some.

Everywhere you looked, another Edmonton youngster had his guns blazing.

"It's been thrust upon them quickly and I've been really impressed with their ability to handle it," said defenceman Steve Staios.

"These guys have been incredible. They haven't had many dips in their playing, which is something you might expect from young guys, that they would drop off. But they haven't at all. And it's helped us get in this situation."

The Oilers moved one point behind the ninth-place Nashville Predators, who lost to Washington last night, and five points behind Calgary, Colorado and Vancouver who sit sixth, seventh and eighth at 84 points.

Tomorrow's game with Vancouver is now a monumental showdown.

"Pressure is mounting, but it's getting exciting," said Cogliano. "It's pretty cool for a guy like me to come in here and chase for a playoff spot. We're playing well, winning games... we've put ourselves in a good position. We're showing well right now."

And now they're close enough to make it happen.

"For us it's just winning the next game," said Marty Reasoner. "We've started to play the way we've wanted to the last four or five weeks and we've seen the results.

"We're still looking up like we have been all year. We just have to keep knocking these games off one at a time and hopefully it'll play itself out.

"Everyone in here always believed we were a good team and that when we played well we could play with any team in the league."


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