EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) - Ales Hemsky scored with 33.3 seconds left in the third period to give the Edmonton Oilers a key 2-1 victory over the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Thursday night.
Edmonton began the night in eighth place in the NHL's Western Conference one point ahead of Vancouver. With the victory, the Oilers moved within a point of seventh place Colorado, which lost to Calgary 2-0.The Canucks were playing later in San Jose.
Ethan Moreau of the Oilers and Andy McDonald of the Mighty Ducks exchanged first-period goals.
Hemsky roared down the right wing and took a shot from the circle to the left of J.S. Giguere that slithered between the goalie's leg pads.
Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves for the Oilers.
The Oilers reached 40 wins for the first time since 1987-88 when the franchise won their fourth Stanley Cup in five years.
With the game tied 1-1, the Oilers couldn't score during a 4-minute power play in the third period after Chris Kunitz clipped Chris Pronger in the mouth, sending the 6-foot-6 defenseman briefly to the ice.
Hemsky scored the winner on the Oilers' 16th shot of the period. He was set up by Fernando Pisani as Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish juggled lines in the hopes of igniting an inept offense that scored once in losses at St. Louis and Detroit.
Oilers enforcer and crowd favorite Georges Laraques returned from a five-game absence with a first-period rush on Giguere to the delight of the Rexall Place sellout of 16,839.
The Oilers wrap up the regular season Monday against Colorado. The Mighty Ducks are in San Jose Saturday and end the season Monday in Calgary.
Notes: Edmonton won the season series with Anaheim 4-0 and stretched its home undefeated streak against the Mighty Ducks to 12 games. ... Anaheim forward Joffrey Lupul of Fort Saskatchewan , Alta., had 100 friends and family at the game. ... Olympic gold medal cyclist Lori-Ann Muenzer was honored before the game.