What a sigh to behold

TERRY JONES, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:54 AM ET

Happy day is here again.

The Oilers won.

The run is done.

The trouble with what happened Monday night is that now you have nothing to look forward to for the rest of the season.

That's all folks.

They've won their game.

The streak has been stopped.

What's left now is merely mop up.

But let the bells ring out and the banners fly anyway. The great 13-game winless streak is over.

After becoming the first NHL team in 12 years to go a full calendar month without a win, the first Oilers team to ever do it, the Edmonton Oilers turned the page on the calendar and won their first game of February.

Poo got them out of the outhouse. OK.

Check that. They're still in the outhouse. They're still waist deep in it and there's no getting out. It just smells a little better.

The Oilers are still five points out of 29th place which is shared by the Caroline Hurricanes, the team they beat 4-2 last night, and the Toronto Maple Leafs, the only other team they've been able to register a win against in the last 22 games.

The Edmonton Oil Kings end a 16-game losing streak Sunday and the Oilers end a 13-game losing streak Monday. City of Champions!

The crowd gave the Oilers a standing ovation.

"Tonight was nice. After all this, the Edmonton fans are really something," said head coach Pat Quinn. "The reception these players got after a month of frustration was just awesome. This is one of the good feelings."

The players all went to centre ice and raised their sticks in salute while the people in the press box were saying, "Quick now. Somebody phone Ottawa and remind us how to write one of these things."

Marc Pouliot, who answers to the unfortunate nickname 'Poo', scored the big goal in the second period to send the Oilers on their way to end the run of soiling the sheets.

They survived Jeff Deslauriers giving up a weak one on the first shot on goal and an even weaker one by Jussi Jokinen on a power play, which brought the 'Canes back to tie it 2-2 after the Oilers' body language sagged when Mike Comrie took a cheap penalty.

But Poo got 'em out of the glue.

"It feels good. It's been a long time since somebody scored a winning goal in a game and for me to get the winning goal, that was awesome," he said.

He didn't keep the puck.

"No. But it was last March that I scored my last goal."

And 'Second Half Sam' Gagner scored his 14th goal of the season after having the less than glorious honour of accepting the Molson's Cup as the Player of the Month in a month in which they didn't win a game.

"Yeah, that," said Gagner. "But this is obviously a great feeling.

"You never want to be in this situation. But to go out there and win this game and have fun again ... It was great to have fun."

There was kind of a quirky giddiness in the Oilers dressing room.

When J.J. Hebert went to the blackboard and started writing 'P' for practice, Sun humourist Rob Tychkowski said, "Parade route."

Broadcaster Rod Phillips came into the room and said, "we were a lot better."

Someone said, "this would be a good time to retire."

"Yeah. I'm going out on top!" said Phillips.

And Pat Quinn allowed himself to laugh after the game even if he pointed out there were no lack of flaws.

"It hasn't been easy. This is certainly not what I expected to have happen to this hockey club."

"Got a cigar for this one?"

"I'm going to find something," Quinn replied. "The way our luck has been going it will be a piece of dog turf from out back or too soggy to light."

Quote-unquote.

TERRY.JONES@SUNMEDIA.CA


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