SUN Hockey Pool

Horcoff clinches comeback win

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

DALLAS -- Given how badly they've been beaten here over the past 16 years, Dallas probably isn't the best place for the Edmonton Oilers to begin entertaining thoughts of a mid-season rally.

It would be like turkeys planning their big revival on Thanksgiving.

But, surprise, surprise, they gobbled up two points yesterday, slipping their necks off the chopping block in time to overcome a 2-0 deficit and post their first win here in three years.

"Our guys are learning to bend a little bit and maybe not break," said head coach Pat Quinn, after Shawn Horcoff clinched the 3-2 comeback win in the fifth round of the shootout.

"Before we were bending and not breaking and walking away with nothing."

The Oilers are 2-0 on the road trip after Thursday's win in Detroit, giving them back-to-back victories for the first time since mid-October -- nearly seven weeks ago.

"Our past two games, I've liked them a lot," said Quinn. "We've had a lot of good things happen."

Like not losing, which is where they appeared headed after the Stars -- 44-11-6 against Edmonton since 1993 -- jumped out to the lead.

"That tells you a lot about this team; this isn't the first time we've come back from 2-0," said defenceman Ladislav Smid, whose first goal in 151 games tied the contest with 3:07 left in regulation.

"It's going to help our confidence."

And give the Stars a kick in theirs.

"It was 2-0 and then 2-1 with three minutes left. I think we should have been able to close it out," said Dallas forward Mike Ribiero.

"When you don't have the lead, and you come back and tie the game and lose in the shootout, you're like, 'OK, we got the point.' But when you have the lead and then lose in the shootout, it's a little bit harder."

Oilers starter Deslauriers turned in the kind of baseline game they need from him, stopping 33 of 35 shots in regulation and overtime, and four of five in the shootout.

"He was pretty good," said Stars' forward Mike Modano. "He made some good saves. He's a big goalie. There's not much to shoot at, and he moves very well."

The shots were 15-7 Dallas when Jamie Benn beat Steve Staios and Jason Strudwick to a rebound and made it 1-0 at 15:51 of the first.

Edmonton had a chance to tie it on the power play a few minutes later, but didn't get a shot on net for the first 1:49 of the advantage.

Dallas then took a rebound the length of the ice and scored at 19:29 to make it 2-0.

A back-breaker if there ever was one. But Edmonton's back didn't break.

"We just stayed positive in the dressing room," said Smid. "We told each other, 'Keep your head up and we're going to get something back.' We came back and played a really strong game."

Edmonton climbed back into the game with the only goal of the second period, a Smid point shot that Lubomir Visnovsky deflected in. Then Smid slipped one through a crowd to tie it.

"We made some mistakes, obviously, to go down 2-0," said defenceman Sheldon Souray. "But it shows the fight we have in us to come back."

Late hits

Dustin Penner, Sam Gagner and Gilbert Brule were each minus two at the first intermission ... With a major day of college football on the schedule and the 14th place Oilers in town, the massive American Airlines Center was barely half full for the matinee tilt.

Shooting Stars no more

The Stars used to own the shootout, but they're 1-6 this year (0-2 against Edmonton) and lamenting the points they've let slip away.

"I don't know," sighed Stephane Robidas. "That one year, we were on a roll. And when you get on a roll, you get the confidence and you feel like you know it's going to go in."

Not now.

"When you start struggling, everybody talks about it," said Robidas.

"Sometimes we think too much. That's when we're maybe putting too much pressure on ourselves.

"We've got enough skill; we've got some really good guys with some skill who can score."

ROBERT.TYCHKOWSKI@SUNMEDIA.CA


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