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Edmonton
Oilers
41-35-6
Atlanta
Thrashers
34-40-8

24 SOG
31 SOG
1st2nd3rdT
EDM
ATL
game recap

Oilers 4, Thrashers 2

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 4:52 AM

Associated Press

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Oilers 4, Thrashers 2
Edmonton Oilers 4, Atlanta Thrashers 2

ATLANTA (AP) -Even the NHL's youngest player can see the Edmonton Oilers are running out of time to make a move in the Western Conference.

Sam Gagner's second-period goal gave Edmonton the lead, and the Oilers beat Atlanta 4-2 on Sunday to snap a three-game losing streak.

The 18-year-old Gagner gave the Oilers a 2-1 advantage late in the second period, only 1:06 after Slava Kozlov scored a tying goal for the Thrashers.

The Oilers and Thrashers each have 49 points. Atlanta is only one point out of the lead in the weak Southeast Division, but Edmonton is still last in the Northwest Division and 14th in the Western Conference playoff standings.

"Every game is like a playoff game for us right now," Gagner said. "We're fighting for our lives. I think everybody realizes that."

Tom Gilbert, 25, and Robert Nilsson, 23, added third-period goals for Edmonton to put the game away.

"Our young guys played well," said Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish. "They're a highly skilled unit. They were the difference in the game."

Gagner has four goals, all in road games. He leads the NHL with four shootout-deciding goals, and treated his scoring opportunity against Thrashers goalie Kari Lehtonen much like another one.

After taking a pass from Steve Staios, Gagner faked toward the left side of the net. After Lehtonen bought the fake and lunged in that direction, the rookie center lifted the puck over the goalie into the exposed right set of the net.

"I knew I had lots of time," Gagner said. "A lot of room opened up for me. It looked pretty much like I had an open net."

Gagner was Edmonton's first pick, and the sixth overall, in the 2007 draft.

"I didn't think I'd be here this young," Gagner said. "I didn't know when the opportunity would come.

"I just wanted to prove I belong."

Dwayne Roloson stopped 29 shots for the Oilers. Roloson was given the start after Mathieu Garon was pulled in the third period after allowing six goals in Friday night's 7-2 loss at Carolina.

"It's a huge win for us," Roloson said. "We're battling to get into the playoffs."

Thrashers center Eric Perrin skates while being pursued by  Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert (77) and his teammate Marty Reasoner (19) during the third period of Edmonton's 4-2 win at Atlanta on Sunday. (AP Photo/Stanley Leary)

Following a scoreless opening period, Dustin Penner's power-play shot from the left circle on a pass from Ales Hemsky gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead 6:38 into the second period.

Kozlov's goal, on a set up from Eric Perrin, tied the game with about 5 minutes left in the period.

After Gagner gave Edmonton the lead, Gilbert scored 4:20 into the third period to increase the lead to 3-1. Nilsson scored from the left circle with 6:03 left in the period.

All-Star selection Marian Hossa scored with 1:20 left for Atlanta.

The Thrashers, who gave up the most goals in franchise history in a 10-1 loss at Buffalo on Friday, have lost three straight.

"We played horrible against Buffalo, but I think we played one of our best games of the year today," Lehtonen said. "Edmonton maybe had five or six scoring chances all game. ... It seems they got the puck in every chance they had."

Atlanta coach Don Waddell noted his team helped both Buffalo and Edmonton end losing streaks.

"I've said it before, when we respect our opponent we play better, and I don't know how we don't respect anyone at this point," Waddell said.

"When we face teams that are going good, we usually come up with a better effort and that's certainly something we need to address."

Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk was held without a goal for the fourth straight game. The NHL leader with 37 goals, Kovalchuk had not gone more than two games without a goal this season before the current slump. He does not have a point in three straight games.

Oilers defenseman Dick Tarnstrom had three penalties, including a 4-minute penalty in the first period for high-sticking.

"He had one of those games where you hope the team can put together a solid effort and bail you out," MacTavish said. "We bailed him out of what was a tough game."

scoring summary
1st Period
NONE
2nd Period
06:38
EDM
PPG - Dustin Penner (15) ASST: Ales Hemsky (29), Shawn Horcoff (27)
1 - 0 EDM
14:49
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov (14) ASST: Eric Perrin (21), Joel Kwiatkowski (1)
1 - 1 Tie
15:55
EDM
Sam Gagner (4) ASST: Steve Staios (4), Robert Nilsson (16)
2 - 1 EDM
3rd Period
04:20
EDM
Tom Gilbert (8) ASST: Ales Hemsky (30), Shawn Horcoff (28)
3 - 1 EDM
13:57
EDM
Robert Nilsson (6) ASST: Andrew Cogliano (14), Steve Staios (5)
4 - 1 EDM
18:40
ATL
Marian Hossa (21) ASST: Toby Enstrom (26), Eric Perrin (22)
4 - 2 EDM
penalty summary
1st Period
02:25
ATL
Bobby Holik  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
08:09
EDM
Dick Tarnstrom  Hi stick - double minor against  Vyacheslav Kozlov
18:27
ATL
Garnet Exelby  Tripping against  Kyle Brodziak
19:18
EDM
Shawn Horcoff  Tripping against  Niclas Havelid
2nd Period
01:11
EDM
Dick Tarnstrom  Hooking against  Marian Hossa
05:57
ATL
Vyacheslav Kozlov  Tripping against  Zack Stortini
07:46
ATL
Toby Enstrom  Delaying Game-Puck over glass
12:47
EDM
Dick Tarnstrom  Closing hand on puck
3rd Period
14:36
EDM
Steve Staios  Hooking against  Pascal Dupuis
goalie stats
Dwayne Roloson
SA: 31TOI: 60:00
Saves: 29EV: 22 - 24
PIM: 0PP: 7 - 7
SV%: .935SH: 0 - 0
Kari Lehtonen
SA: 24TOI: 59:06
Saves: 20EV: 14 - 17
PIM: 0PP: 3 - 4
SV%: .833SH: 3 - 3