Skip to main content

Oilers 5, Thrashers 1 @NHLdotcom

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) -Facing their longest road trip of the season, the Edmonton Oilers took advantage of the last dose of home hospitality they'll see in awhile.

Petr Sykora set up three goals as the Oilers won 5-1 over the Atlanta Thrashers on Sunday night.

Ryan Smyth, Marc-Andre Bergeron, Marc Pouliot, Joffrey Lupul and Raffi Torres scored for Edmonton, while Eric Belanger had the lone response for Atlanta.

"I felt they came out pretty flat after playing last night," Sykora said of the Thrashers. "They got the lead, but we played our system really well and came back at them. We got the secondary scoring, which we haven't had enough of lately, which was huge.

"It was a good way to get the confidence going before going on that huge road trip."

The Oilers (28-24-4) have won five of their last seven games to move to within six points of both the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and top spot in the Northwest Division.

But if they are going to make the climb into contention, it will have to be on the road - they head out on a season-long seven-game road swing.

Going into the trip with a bit of confidence after two straight wins could be a boost.

"It was a big win for us," said Lupul. "We knew we needed to win these two. It's going to be a long road trip, and hopefully we can put together a good trip and put ourselves back into the picture."

Added coach Craig MacTavish: "Time is running out and we have to be able to win in our own building if we are going to get ourselves back into it. Now we've got a big road trip and at least we have some momentum going into it. We have to keep it going."

Atlanta (30-20-9) has lost two in a row and five of its last six.

"It's been a tough road trip," forward Ilya Kovalchuk said. "It just makes it tougher when you have back-to-back games. We had the lead there and we just stopped playing. I don't know why."

Thrashers coach Bob Hartley admitted it wasn't close to his team's finer performances.

"We missed a couple assignments and made some bad decisions tonight," he said. "They are so dangerous on the rush and you put a team like that on the power play with all their skills and they are going to make you pay."

The Thrashers kicked off the scoring just 5:15 into the first period as Belanger connected in his first appearance in the Atlanta lineup. He flicked a shot through the legs of Oilers goaltender Dwayne Roloson.

The Oilers tied the game 1-1 with a power-play goal just before the halfway point of the first session. Shawn Horcoff picked up the puck during a scramble in the crease and slid it to Smyth, who tucked his 28th of the year under the pad of Atlanta goalie Johan Hedberg.

Edmonton took the lead as Ales Hemsky found Bergeron creeping in to the high slot, and he unleashed a blistering shot that beat Hedberg to the glove side in the second period.

Edmonton stretched that lead to 4-1 with two quick goals just past the halfway point of the period. Rookie Pouliot got the first when he sent a wrist shot through a maze of players into the net. Lupul followed just over a minute later when he beat Hedberg in a race to the puck behind the Atlanta net and banked a shot off the netminder's pad.

The Oilers made it 5-1 when Torres scored on the power play.

Atlanta had two potential goals called back due to goaltender interference. Roloson stopped 29 of 30 shots for the win.

Thrashers forwards Belanger and Denis Hamel played for their new team for the first time. Belanger was acquired on Saturday from Nashville for Vitaly Vishnevski, while Hamel was obtained from Ottawa through waivers.

Notes: Both teams return to the ice on Tuesday, as Atlanta plays the fourth game of a six-game road swing in Calgary, and Edmonton begins a season-high seven-game road trip in Boston. ... The last time these teams met in Edmonton was three years ago to the day. The match concluded with a 12-player brawl that included goalies Ty Conklin and Pasi Nurminen trading blows. ... Horcoff has three goals and six points in his last four games. ... Oilers forward Fernando Pisani left in the second period and did not return after suffering a mild concussion on an open ice hit up by Andy Sutton.

View More

The NHL uses cookies, web beacons, and other similar technologies. By using NHL websites or other online services, you consent to the practices described in our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service, including our Cookie Policy.