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Oilers 4, Ducks 1 @NHL

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -Denied a chance to boo Chris Pronger again, Ryan Smyth gave Edmonton Oilers fans something to cheer about.

Smyth had two goals and an assist as Edmonton beat Anaheim 4-1 Thursday night for the Oilers' first win in three games against the injury-riddled and struggling Ducks this season.

"It was a very important win for this team," Smyth said. "We want to get ourselves back in a playoff position. We feel we have a good bunch of guys here despite a few injuries here and there. We have a lot of character."

Jason Smith and Toby Petersen also scored 27 seconds apart late in the second period for the Oilers, winners of two straight and four of their last six.

"We started off pretty slow and found our rhythm," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It was a good game for us. We had a good finish to the second and then maybe our best period in the third. Given the extent of the injuries we have it was a pretty resilient effort by the guys."

The game drew a sellout crowd, largely due to the second scheduled appearance for former Ducks defenseman Chris Pronger - who asked to be traded in the offseason after leading Edmonton to the Stanley Cup finals.

Pronger, who has not played since breaking his left foot on Dec. 31, was booed every time he touched the puck in his first trip back on Nov. 28.

Teemu Selanne had the lone goal for the Ducks, 2-6-2 in their last 10 games.

"We're making too many mistakes right now," Selanne said. "As a team we don't have too much confidence. Too many guys heads go down. It's tough right now. It's pretty frustrating. Right now we are not playing a full 60 minutes.

"But we have to stay positive and stick together. Obviously we can do things better."

Anaheim opened the scoring at 6:27, thanks to an Edmonton miscue. Marc-Andre Bergeron gave up the puck to Selanne deep in the Oilers' zone and the veteran winger beat goalie Dwayne Roloson to the glove side for his 30th goal of the season.

Edmonton surged ahead with two goals late in the second and Smyth sealed it with his goals in the third.

Smith tied the score when his shot from the point at 18:55 of the second found its way through a maze of players and went between Anaheim goalie Ilya Bryzgalov's legs. Just 27 seconds later, a bouncing puck found it's way to Petersen in front of the Ducks net and he batted it in.

"We knew we had to come out hard in the second," Petersen said. "The game was still there for the taking. We felt fortunate to be in a position to come back after playing as bad as we did in the first period."

Edmonton went ahead 3-1 at 8:35 of the third when Shawn Horcoff's centring pass hit Selanne's skate, then went in off Smyth's stick. The Oilers' forward added his 23rd goal of the season at 13:47, deflecting a perfect pass from Horcoff past a helpless Bryzgalov.

Both teams play Calgary next. The Ducks visit the Flames on Friday before Edmonton hosts Calgary the following night.

Notes: Edmonton F Jarret Stoll left the game midway through the first with a fractured nose after a hit along the boards, and did not return due to dizzy spells. ... Edmonton RW Ales Hemsky was a late-day scratch with an upper body injury. He is listed as day-to-day ... Selanne's first-period goal marked the ninth time in his career he has managed to hit the 30-goal mark.

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