Hemsky, Moreau sink 'Yotes

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

The Edmonton Oilers appeared to be taking their Glenn Anderson tribute a touch too literally last night.

Having heard all about his reckless kamikaze style, the Oilers seemed bent on a suicide mission themselves, blowing a 3-1 lead in the second period to turn the first 18 minutes of the third into a life or death struggle.

But there to save the day were Ales Hemsky and Ethan Moreau, a couple of warriors who, like Anderson, are wired to put the team ahead of their own well-being.

In his first game back from nearly a month on the shelf with a concussion, Hemsky scored two goals while Moreau, who sacrifices his body at every turn, turned in a hat trick to secure the 6-3 win.

"I thought the ceremony was very appropriate for Andy and then a good solid game after," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"So it was a good night. We haven't had an energetic game like that all year where everybody leaves feeling good about themselves."

Hemsky wasn't feeling very good four days ago, when he still felt woozy from strenuous exercise and didn't expect to be back before the all-star break.

But after a few days of hard skating there he was, looking like he'd never been gone.

"That's what great players do," said MacTavish. "His game doesn't need all the maintenance, he's just a really gifted player. A couple of great goals. The fifth goal was a huge goal. We all know how frenetic that gets with the goalie out. It was huge."

Even Hemsky, who planned on easing his way back, never anticipated a two-goal, plus- three evening.

"I wasn't expecting that," said the fearless winger, who made it 2-1 on a beautiful deke 11:53 into the first period.

"But if you get an early goal like that you get confidence from it. Overall, I feel pretty good out there. It's nice to be back."

Hemsky took a couple of solid hits and, as everyone in the place held their breath, got right up and felt none the worse for wear.

"I took a couple of shots and the head reacted pretty well, so I'm happy about that," he said.

"Hopefully it'll react pretty well (Monday)."

The Oilers didn't react all that well to their 3-1 lead.

Two goals from Moreau and one from Hemsky put them in charge at the first intermission, but they lapsed in the second, taking a grand total of four shots and allowing the Coyotes to claw their way back into the mix on goals from Dan Carcillo and Peter Mueller.

Penner made it 4-3 after 40 and after 18 anxious minutes in the third, Hemsky put it out of reach.

All that was left to be decided was whether or not Moreau would get three.

The numbers on his sweater 1 and 8, add up to 9, so maybe the first hat trick of his NHL career was in the cards on Anderson night.

"I think I went to the net harder because I saw Andy in all those highlights," grinned Moreau, who got his third just under the wire, into the empty net at 19:59.

"He's definitely an inspirational player. Hopefully we played a little bit like him tonight."

Moreau's third of the night brought down the house. It was as popular a hat-trick as the Oilers have had in a long while -- not that they've had many in a long while -- but you get the point.

"Everybody was right up, including the coaches," said MacTavish.

"It was great to see. The fans were anticipating that. Very appropriate that it was (good friend) Steve Staios who dusted it off over to him."

Moreau has been to all of Edmonton's sweater retirements and treasures all of them.

To pop three on a special night like this makes it unforgettable.

"That's one of the special things about playing in this city, you get to see those guys," he said.

"I love seeing the old footage, I love seeing that bridge from the present to the past."


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