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Oilers edge Canucks as rally comes too late @NHLdotcom

Nikolai Khabibulin faced 40 shots Monday night. Fortunately for him and the Edmonton Oilers, they didn't have to worry about the 41st.

Kyle Wellwood capped a frantic rush up the ice by charging into the slot and sliding the puck past Khabibulin and into the net, but the final second had already ticked off the clock and the Oilers survived for a 2-1 win over the Vancouver Canucks at Rexall Place.

The Canucks celebrated, thinking they had scored the tying goal, but a video review confirmed time had run out before the puck even left Wellwood's stick, much less crossed the goal line.

"I heard the horn but it happened so quick I wasn't sure," said Khabibulin, who was victimized by last-minute goals twice in losses to Calgary earlier this month. "The way things have gone for us of late, I was holding my breath until referee made the final ruling. That was nice."

Sam Gagner scored off a goalmouth scramble midway through the third period as Edmonton won for the fourth time in six home games. Patrick O'Sullivan had a goal and an assist, while Khabibulin finished with 39 saves.

Steve Bernier opened the scoring for Vancouver, which remained winless in four road games this season. Roberto Luongo made 27 saves.

"It was definitely not a good end result for us," Canucks defenseman Christian Ehrhoff said. "It may have been our best road performance, but unfortunately we couldn't put the puck in the net.

"It's not good to lose divisional games like this and let teams get an early start on us."

Oilers defenseman Denis Grebeshkov had a hand in each of the first two goals, as his turnover in the defensive zone led to Bernier scoring off the rebound of a Wellwood shot at 6:32 of the first period.

Grebeshkov atoned for that mistake by setting up O'Sullivan at the side of the net and he hammered the puck past Luongo 26 seconds into the middle period for a 1-1 tie.

"I don't think we started too well in the game," Khabibulin said. "But from the second period on, I thought we took it to them and played pretty well.

"We know we aren't going to score five or six goals every game so we need to win games like this, too. In the playoffs, the games are lower scoring so we might as well learn how to win those now."

Oilers coach Pat Quinn would prefer the finishes not be quite so dramatic, however.

"It was a six-on-three attack and our defense looked up and saw the bodies coming and just decided to back in and pray, it looked like," Quinn said. "But four seconds, it is in the net."

-- Brian Hunter,

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