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Horcoff's goal wins shootout for Oilers

by John Kreiser
The Edmonton Oilers won their fifth shootout of the season with a 5-4 victory over the Northwest Division rival Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night.
The Edmonton Oilers aren’t a great team in regulation time or overtime. But get them to a shootout, and they’re almost unstoppable.
The Oilers won their fifth shootout of the season on Tuesday night when Shawn Horcoff’s goal in the fifth round gave them a 5-4 victory over the Vancouver Canucks. Edmonton has won just three times in regulation, but with the five shootout wins, the Oilers are now 8-12-1 and moved past Phoenix and out of the Western Conference basement.

“It was important that we get a win tonight, based on our mental makeup,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. “We needed to stop the disappointments and get something positive.”
It was Edmonton’s second shootout victory over Vancouver in less than a week. Last Wednesday, the Oilers beat the Canucks in a game that was scoreless after 65 minutes.
The return match was nothing like that one.
“That was a no-goal game,” Edmonton defenseman Tom Gilbert said. “This one was run-and-gun.”
Edmonton scored 2:35 into the game ( 700K ) when Gilbert snuck in from the left point and converted Geoff Sanderson’s pass out during a power play.
“I just waited there,” Gilbert said. It was a great pass. If I missed that, I’d have been pretty disappointed.”
The Oilers made it 2-0 at 14:32 ( 700K ) when Marty Reasoner bounced a shot into the net off defenseman Alex Edler’s skate. Alex Burrows scored a shorthanded goal ( 700K )with 1:18 remaining in the period to give the Canucks some life, but Horcoff snapped a wrist shot past Roberto Luongo ( 700K ) on the same power play with 13 seconds remaining in the period to restore Edmonton’s two-goal lead.
Brad Isbister cut the margin to 3-2 ( 700K ) at 44 seconds of the middle period, firing a shot through Ryan Kesler’s screen and past Mathieu Garon after Kesler lost control of the puck on a break-in. After Luongo held the Oilers off the scoreboard for the next 15 minutes, Vancouver tied it when Edler’s point shot trickled through a couple of players, got between Garon’s pads and barely into the net. ( 700K )
The Canucks took their first lead of the night at 7:34 of the final period when Brendan Morrison chipped Markus Naslund’s long pass behind Garon for a power-play goal.  But the Oilers tied it at 8:20 with their third power-play goal of the night. Dustin Penner fired a wrist shot between Luongo’s pads ( 700K ) after a perfect pass from Horcoff.
“If we had been able to stay out of the penalty box, we might have won,” Naslund said.
It looked like the Canucks might win the shootout when Trevor Linden scored in the second round and Luongo stopped Vancouver’s first two shooters. But Ales Hemsky, the last of the Oilers’ three designated shooters, beat Luongo between the pads, and after Garon stopped two more Canucks, Horcoff scored the winner.
“It looked a little bleak,” MacTavish said of his team’s hopes going into the last round of the shootout. “We needed a save and a goal, and it didn’t look good for the goal based on the save Luongo made on Sanderson. It was a great play by Ales to keep us in it and a great job by Horc to win it.”
Horcoff said that despite having to go to a shootout in a game they led 2-0 and 3-1, the Oilers played one of their best games of the season.
“We deserved the game,” he said. “It was one of our most complete games of the year. It was nice to see the power play get some goals.”
Despite losing the third-period lead, Naslund wasn’t entirely unhappy with the result.
“It was unfortunate we couldn’t get the goal in the shootout and didn’t get the second point,” Naslund said.
Flames 4, Avalanche 1 | Video
Shooting less paid big dividends for the Flames, who ended a six-game losing streak to the Avalanche despite registering only 15 shots.
Despite only registering 15 shots on goal, the Calgary Flames defeated the Avalanche 4-1 for their first victory over Colorado this season. 
Three of the losses came this season, including a game in Denver last month in which the Flames wasted a 4-0 lead.
“We can't afford to keep giving that team points," defenseman Robyn Regehr said. "We're chasing them down in the standings right now. It's important for us to provide them with nothing.”
Owen Nolan scored twice for Calgary. The big one came at 2:02 of the second period ( 700K ), just eight seconds after Marek Svatos put Colorado in front. ( 700K )
“Critical shifts … first shifts after goals, last minute of periods … those goals can haunt you,” Colorado coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was a huge goal, the way the game was being played.”
Iginla put the Flames ahead to stay at 9:04 of the second period with a low shot past Jose Theodore’s glove ( 700K ) after a great pass from Matthew Lombardi. David Moss made it 3-1 ( 700K ) with 4:09 left in regulation by tipping Daymond Langkow’s pass behind Theodore, and Nolan hit the empty net in the final minute. ( 700K )
Colorado continues to be two different teams: At home, the Avs are 9-1-0, but on the road they’re just 2-7-1 and have the next-to-last power play in the NHL. The lack of success with the man advantage hurt them against the Flames — Colorado was 0-for-5, including three chances in the first period.
“I think it’s all power play. The power play ignites our offense,” Quenneville said. “I think when you feed off of that, you can generate a lot of excitement. If you’re not scoring on your power play, that’s the area we’ve got to get a spark from.”
The Flames, now 9-9-3, are trying to right themselves after losing six of their previous eight games, including a five-game losing streak.
Nolan, signed as a free-agent over the summer, didn't score his first goal for the Flames until Nov. 8, but now has four in his last six games.
“I don't think I'm really doing much different, but the puck's going in,” he said.

Material from wire services was used in this report.
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