SUN Hockey Pool

Oiler snipers on target

DEREK VAN DIEST, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:32 AM ET

COLUMBUS -- In reality, the Edmonton Oilers had no business winning this one.

At least not by a 7-2 margin.

Not when they were only able to generate eight shots through the first two periods and 19 for the game, while surrendering 39 at the other end.

But it's not about how, it's about how many, as the Oilers were able to make the most of their limited opportunities against the Columbus Blue Jackets last night.

"The score wasn't indicative of how close the game was for a long stretch of the game," said Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff.

"We scored a lot of nice goals, there were a couple of so-so ones, but we did get a lot of nice ones.

"I think that's a credit to everyone, we moved the puck around well and made the most of our opportunities."

Heading into the game, Ken Hitchcock compared the Oilers to the Harlem Globetrotters -- always on the road.

The Blue Jackets head coach was hoping his team wouldn't impersonate the Washington Generals, the Globetrotters' usual whipping boys.

In the end they did, yet it was the Oilers who more resembled the Generals chasing the Blue Jackets around in their own zone through the first two periods.

The difference was that the Oilers were able to make practically all of their shots -- and they got another outstanding goaltending performance from Dwayne Roloson.

"Roli was on top of his game," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "When your goalie outplays the other guy, it's normally a good indication of the result.

"He played real well too (in Detroit), and he was once again terrific tonight."

It may have come as a surprise to some to see Roloson getting his third consecutive start after losing his two previous ones.

MacTavish was probably interested to see how things would unfold if his team provided some offence.

Three times this season the Oilers have failed to score a goal for Roloson -- four if you count the preseason.

But he got some run support last night.

"Our defence and our forwards did a great job in front of me even though they (Columbus) had a lot of shots," Roloson said.

"They allowed me to see the first shot and they cleared the rebounds, not allowing them to get second or third opportunities, which is great for us."

At the other end, everyone managed to score on Pascal Leclaire.

Sheldon Souray opened the scoring in the first period with a laser from the point which blew past Leclaire.

Andrew Cogliano increased the Oilers lead by redirecting a nice cross-ice feed from Souray.

The Oilers registered just four shots in the middle frame, but Marc Pouliot upped the lead to 3-0 before Kristian Huselius replied for Columbus.

Tom Gilbert, Dustin Penner, Horcoff and Lubomir Visnovsky tallied for the Oilers in the final frame, while Rick Nash scored for the Jackets.

"It's just a good feeling coming out of here with the win in a pretty desperate time," said MacTavish.

"With the win here tonight, we can take that back home and get our game going at home at a level that we haven't yet.

"With all the road games that we've played, if we can get going at home, we're still in pretty good shape."


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