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Oilers Squeak Out A Win

by Staff Writer / Toronto Maple Leafs

Vs. Oilers: Scoring | Stats

November 20, 2003 

EDMONTON (CP) - - Crafty Edmonton forward Ales Hemsky is often criticized for not shooting enough.

He managed only one shot on net Thursday night, but it proved to be the game winner.

"Guy gets one shot and it's in the net - give him credit where credit is due," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said after Hemsky's goal and assist lead his team to a 3-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The win was Edmonton's fourth straight and extended Toronto's winless streak to five games.

Hemsky set up Marc-Andre Bergeron's first period power-play goal to tie the score 1-1. Then he ripped a backhand rebound into the top corner on a power play to put the Oilers up 3-1 at 18:35 of the second.

Aki Berg shows some grit.
(Getty Images/NHLI)
"Like any offensive hockey player, you get some success early in the game and your confidence is high," MacTavish said about Hemsky. "He made that great pass to Bergie early and then got the one-timer backhand. You don't see too many players who can do that."

Hemsky now has four goals this season on just 11 shots.

Edmonton goaltender Ty Conklin stopped 31 shots and has won his last four starts and five of six since replacing incumbent Tommy Salo, who's out with a hip injury.

Gary Roberts converted a rebound at 15:28 of the third to make it close, his fifth of the season. Edmonton had to kill a slashing penalty on Steve Staios with 2:33 left in regulation and Conklin stopped Mikael Renberg from close in with 44 seconds remaining to preserve the lead.

"Down by a goal, obviously they're going to really start pressing," said Conklin, who has surrendered just five goals in his last four games, stopping 119 shots. "It got really hectic at the end, but that's to be expected."

Mike York also scored for the Oilers (10-7-2-0), who are 5-1-0-0 in their last six.

Darcy Tucker had the other goal for Toronto (7-6-5-2), which is 0-2-2-1 in its last five and has just one win in seven contests (1-2-3-1).

"We're still making too many mistakes," said captain Mats Sundin. "Tonight we had turnovers and mistakes all over the ice.

"Bottom line, we're not playing good enough to win hockey games. We have to pull out of this as a group."

York put Edmonton up 2-1 at 13:16 of the second, tapping Jason Smith's pass behind Ed Belfour from the side of the net. The goal, York's sixth, extends his scoring streak to six games (three goals, five assists during that span).

Edmonton was 2-for-6 on the power play after scoring just two goals in 29 chances over their last seven games.

Toronto was 1-for-5 with the extra man.

Tucker opened the scoring with a power-play goal 10:57 into the first. He tapped in Robert Reichel's centring pass in front for his fifth of the season.

Bergeron made it 1-1 at 16:37, also on the power play. Radek Dvorak earned an assist on the goal, extending his scoring streak to four games (two goals, four assists over that span).

Notes: Thursday's game was the first at Rexall Place, the new name of Edmonton's home arena. Skyreach Equipment's five-year deal for naming rights expired Oct. 31, 2003 but the Skyreach Centre name wasn't changed until Thursday when the Oilers announced a new 10-year contract with the Edmonton-based pharmacy giant Katz Group Inc . . . The Oilers re-signed Staios to a three-year contract extension that will pay him $2 million US next season and $2.125 million in each of the following two years . . . Joe Nieuwendyk, who missed seven games with back spasms, returned to Toronto's lineup Tuesday against the Flames in Calgary but sat out Thursday's game.
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