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Leafs Strike Oil

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

January 7, 2005

EDMONTON (CP) -- If Mikael Tellqvist was rusty, it sure didn't show.

The Toronto Maple Leafs back-up goaltender stopped 36 shots in his first action in five games and Chad Kilger had the game winner as the Toronto Maple Leafs held on to beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 Saturday.

"He's the real deal,'' said Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn of Tellqvist.

Matt Stajan and Darcy Tucker, on a power play, also scored for Toronto (24-15-3), which had just 19 shots on Edmonton's net while Tellqvist protected the Maple Leafs end.

"We had a ton of point-blank shots, and a couple of breakaways that were saves,'' said Oilers defenceman Chris Pronger. "It's tough when you come up against a hot goaltender like that.''

Toronto, which played the second of back-to-back games in Alberta, has won seven of its last eight games and eight of 12 in Edmonton.

"We had trouble getting a break at the other end of the ice,'' said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish. "Just one of those nights.''

Oilers goaltender Ty Conklin allowed two goals on six first-period shots after Stajan converted on Bryan McCabe's rebound, and Tucker one-timed a wrist shot with Steve Staios in the penalty box for tripping.

Kilger's goal in the third came off a rebound from Clarke Wilm's point shot. Bryan McCabe added two assists, and with 49 points is the only defenceman to lead his team in scoring.

Shawn Horcoff and Ryan Smyth, following an odd end-board bounce in the third period, scored for Edmonton (23-15-4), which lost for the fourth time in the last six games.

"What do you say? Sometimes you just have to give credit to the guy,'' said Horcoff, who extended his scoring streak to five games. "We tried everything tonight.''

Ales Hemsky finished with two assists for the Oilers.

Tellqvist stopped all 15 Oilers shots in the first period and flashed the glove off a Horcoff wrist shot from the high slot early in the second to prevent a sure goal. The Oilers held a 22-9 shots advantage mid-way through the game.

"Phenomenal,'' said Tucker of Tellqvist's play. "Great effort and nice to get two points.''

In support of Hockey Day in Canada, Walter Gretzky dropped the puck in the pre-game for a ceremonial face-off between Smyth and Tucker with their fathers looking on.

"I think it was a dream come true for him to stand beside Walter Gretzky,'' said Tucker of his father Dale. "It's really emotional ... he's a big part of my life and it was nice to score a goal for him.''

Typical of Leaf visits through Western Canada, thousands of blue and white Toronto jerseys were visible among the Rexall Place sellout crowd of 16,839. Toronto improved to 9-8-2 on the road after just the team's sixth game away from Air Canada Centre since Dec. 3.

The teams met as part of Hockey Day in Canada.

"Hockey and Canada are interchangeable,'' NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in the first intermission. "One doesn't work without the other.''

The Maple Leafs are in Vancouver Tuesday while Edmonton visits Pittsburgh.

Notes: Oilers forward Ethan Moreau hurt his ribs after an awkward check on Alexander Khavanov in the second period. ... Radek Dvorak continues his recovery from a groin injury; the Oilers forward may play Tuesday against the Penguins. ... The game was the Oilers' 19th sellout.

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