Oilers ground 'Hawks 5-1

Friday, 24.11.2006 / 9:27 PM / Edmonton Oilers
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Oilers ground \'Hawks 5-1
In the opening minute of the game, the Oilers went to the power play after Toby Petersen was held up in the neutral zone by Radim Vrbata.

On the ensuing power play, Jarret Stoll was in the high slot when Shawn Horcoff dug the puck out of the corner and threw it to Stoll for the one timer. The blast beat Chicago starting goaltender Brian Boucher for the 1-0 lead.

Michael Homlqvist almost got that one back for the visiting 'Hawks. He created a turnover at the Edmonton blueline and broke in alone on Roloson but his shot went off the right post.

Seven minutes into the game, Marty Reasoner dug the puck out from behind the net before backhanding it five-hole past Boucher to double the Oilers' lead to 2-0.

Chicago started to pressure late in the first but when they did, Dwayne Roloson was there to contain any notion of an attack. His toughest shot was on a slapper from Lasse Kukkonen off the side boards, kicking it away with his right pad.

With 3:30 to play in the first, Edmonton struck again to make it 3-0. Reasoner backhanded the puck to Jason Smith at the point. Smith teed up a shot that was tipped on its way to the net by Raffi Torres.

After one, shots on goal were 8-7 in favour of Chicago but the Oilers had a three-goal lead.

Nikolai Khabibulin came in to replace Boucher in goal at the start of the second period.

With Ryan Smyth in the box, Roloson had to be sharp and made a couple of big saves to keep the Blackhawks off the board. First, he stopped Duncan Keith on a blast from the hashmarks and then scooped up Vrbata's backhand on the rebound.

Chicago started to really pour on the pressure to try and get back in the game. Through the first seven minutes of the second, the 'Hawks outshot the Oilers 8-1. Chicago had plenty of chances from prime scoring areas on the ice but Roloson consistently denied them of a goal.

Among the players he stopped at near point-blank range: Smolinski twice, Vrbata and Lapointe. Roloson also stopped Duncan Keith on a blast from the top of the left circle.

Chicago was finally able to break through at the 8:40 mark of the second. Roloson kicked out a Keith wrister but it went straight to Michal Holmqvist who flipped it into the open cage.

The Oilers finally started to find some life again midway through the second after 'Hawks defenceman Brent Seabrook took a penalty. The Oilers had several chances to score, including a nice cross-ice pass by Horcoff to Smyth but Khabibulin was solid the first time he was tested all night and came across to deny #94 on the one-timer.

At the end of the second, Hemsky absolutely levelled Chicago defenceman Keith behind the Blackhawks net to ignite the crowd.

Shots in the second were 15-9 for Chicago and 23-16 Blackhawks overall but the Oilers held a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes.

Tony Salmelainen broke free early in the third when Brent Seabrook found him on a pass straight up the middle. He broke in alone and attempted a backhand deke on Roloson but the Oilers netminder was able to squeeze the pads and make the stop.

Sykora potted his 12th of the season 4:53 into the third. Horcoff won the draw in his own end back to Matt Greene, who fed Pisani breaking out of the zone. Pisani then passed the puck up to Sykora streaking up the right side. He skated into the Blackhawks zone before wristing it low past Khabibulin to move his team in front 4-1.

Edmonton had a chance to pad their lead late in the third after penalties to James Wisniewski and Brent Seabrook a minute apart put them up two men.

With two seconds left in the first penalty, Marc-Andre Bergeron teed up a shot from the right circle that zipped by Khabibulin into the top corner to increase the team's lead to 5-1 and that's how the game ended.

NOTES: Marty Reasoner left the game late in the second period after hitting his head awkwardly against the glass.
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