SUN Hockey Pool

Fiesty Oilers come through

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 8:47 AM ET

LOS ANGELES -- There are any number of reasons why the Oilers shouldn't have won here yesterday.

Being outshot 41-21 is as good a place to start as any.

Going the last 50 minutes without scoring is a close second.

Giving up the tying goal with 26 seconds left is always a back breaker.

But despite all the reasons they deserved to lose, the Oilers found a way to win, bucking the odds and the hard-charging L.A. Kings in a 3-2 shootout victory that was dripping with intensity from the outset.

"That was a great game," said Oilers captain Ethan Moreau. "Great goaltending, fights, hits, special teams were good, guys were competing, every draw was huge, it was awesome.

"It was looser than a playoff game with all the turnovers, but other than that the intensity was huge."

Truth be told, Edmonton would have been fortunate to escape the Staples Centre with one point, so nobody was complaining all that loudly about letting L.A. steal a single from the proceedings on Dustin Brown's game tying goal with 26 seconds left in regulation.

"It's too bad we gave up one point, but in the end it was a good effort to get those two points," said Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, who set up Edmonton's first two goals with a pair of brilliant feeds.

"Usually when somebody scores with 20 seconds left they're pumped, and it can go the other way in overtime. So I'm happy we won in the shootout. We'll take the two points and move on to Phoenix."

Treated by owner Daryl Katz to a golf outing at the ultra exclusive Bighorn Golf Course in Palm Springs on Thursday, the Oilers needed to thank their owner with a W or else next year's outing might consist of hot dogs at the local driving range.

They did. And while the offence wasn't always there, the battle was.

"It was very indicative of where everybody is in the standings," Craig MacTavish said of the high-intensity struggle.

"Two teams that desperately want to win. It was a heck of hockey game. It's a battle, it starts when the puck drops and finishes when the horn blows."

The Oilers built an early 2-0 lead in the first 13:11 of the first period, but couldn't find the net again until the shootout, where Sam Gagner and Robert Nilsson scored on Edmonton's first two attempts to seal the decision.

"We had talked about pushing forward, but we got into some penalty trouble and it took the wind out of our sails a little bit," said Gagner.

"They were coming hard, they're a good team that's been playing really well lately. It was tough at the end, but we got it in the shootout."

Dwayne Roloson, starting his 11th straight game, stopped 39 of 41 shots and both of their attempts in the shootout. He's played in 19 of Edmonton's last 20 games and looks nothing like a 39-year-old approaching the end of his rope.

"He was right on top of his game right from the outset," said MacTavish.

After Hemsky set up Edmonton's first two goals in the first period, sending a backhanded pass through traffic for Dustin Penner's one-timer at 4:58, then slipping a feed to Penner, who drew it back to Horcoff for a one-timer of his own at 13:11.

L.A. completely dominated the second period, outshooting the Oilers 16-3 and cutting the deficit to 2-1 on a five-on-three power play.

Edmonton didn't get its first shot on goal in the second period until 11:35.

"It was more a product of them playing really well,"said Moreau. "We didn't play poorly, they just generated some offence on us. We have to get a little bit better at getting the next goal, when it's 2-1 we need to get the next one to make it 3-1. But a lot of guys played extremely well, and Roli was awesome."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


Videos

Photos