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Oilers beat 'Canes to end slump

by John Kreiser /
Ethan Moreau ended Edmonton's slump and spoiled Carolina's homecoming.

The Hurricanes returned to the RBC Center Saturday after a six-game, two-week trip — only to have Moreau score twice in the final 1:28 of regulation to give Edmonton a 3-1 victory, snapping the Oilers' five-game losing streak.

The 'Canes and Oilers were closing in on overtime until Moreau scored an unassisted goal by banking the puck off the body of goaltender Cam Ward and into the net.

"That one went in, but there were four or five tonight that Cam stopped that should have gone in, so he kept us in position to win," said forward Ray Whitney, who scored the Hurricanes' only goal.

Carolina thought it had gotten the tying goal with 43.1 seconds remaining in regulation when Eric Staal poked at his own rebound, but video replays showed goalie Dwayne Roloson was able to cover the puck before it crossed the goal line. Moreau added an empty-netter with 35 seconds to play.

"We got some really fortunate goals," Moreau said. "We just had the philosophy that if we kept doing things right, we'd be successful. This has been a process. We've lost a few games we've played well in and finally tonight we got a win."

The Oilers won their first four but lost their next five before winning in the second game of a seven-game trip.

"The bottom line for us is that we have been working pretty hard but we worked harder tonight," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It looked like more of the same in the first period; we had all kinds of great chances but nothing to show for it. We worked harder, and at the end of the day we ended up getting rewarded for it."

The Hurricanes got off to a fast start when Ray Whitney took a long pass from defenseman Tim Gleason and beat Roloson 6:35 into the game. It was his first goal since Oct. 10.

Edmonton's Shawn Horcoff tied it with a power-play goal at 6:45 of the second period when Ward deflected his sharp-angled shot from the right side but accidentally knocked it into the net with his right leg.

It was a homecoming for Oilers forward Erik Cole, who called Carolina home for six seasons before being traded for Joni Pitkanen last summer. He got a standing ovation early in the first period as the scoreboard welcomed the crowd favorite back to town. Cole finished with two shots and eight of his club’s 21 hits.

"He's tough, he's fast and he's very strong," Carolina defenseman Dennis Seidenberg said. "He tried to get me every time he could. It was kind of annoying, but that's the way he plays and that's what makes him good. When you practice against him you know how strong and how fast he is, especially those first couple of steps."

Despite a plethora of offensive talent, the Hurricanes continue to struggle on the power play. They went 0-for-6 against the Oilers and are now 6-for-50 so far this season.

"I don't know if it's killing us, that's kind of drastic to say, but certainly the power play is going to have to win you some games, and it won us a game in St. Louis the other night," Whitney said. "Our power play needs to be better. I don't think in general we came out and played as hungry as we should have coming back home. I don't say by any means we deserve to win that game, but we didn't deserve to lose it either."

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