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Oilers snap 13-game losing streak

by Brian Hunter
The Edmonton Oilers had reason to celebrate on Monday night. Their 13-game losing streak, which stretched all the way back to 2009, is finally over.

Jean-Francois Jacques and Marc Pouliot each registered a goal and an assist, and Jeff Deslauriers stopped 33 shots as the Oilers doubled up the Carolina Hurricanes, 4-2 at Rexall Place, in a rematch of the 2006 Stanley Cup Final.

The Hurricanes won that series in seven games, but neither team is in position to head back to the playoffs this season. Carolina, which had a four-game winning streak come to an end, is tied with Toronto for the fewest points in the Eastern Conference while Edmonton is at the bottom of the NHL standings and was in danger of tying the longest winless streak in franchise history.

Gilbert Brule and Sam Gagner also scored for the Oilers, who last won Dec. 30 against the Maple Leafs. Patrick O'Sullivan contributed a pair of assists.

"It hasn't been easy and it was certainly not something I expected to happen to this hockey team," Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. "We've had some rough spots in a lot of these games and haven't held up. We had a couple of rough stretches again tonight but we bent and came back tonight. We had a pretty good outing. It's something we have to keep building on."

Andrew Alberts and Jussi Jokinen had the Hurricanes' goals and Cam Ward, who hails from nearby Sherwood Park, stopped 23 shots.

"It wasn't a pretty game to watch from either side," Carolina coach Paul Maurice said. "The puck was bouncing around a bit out there. I thought we were a bit sluggish out of the gate. We got better as the game went on.

"Cam has really been the difference for us the last two weeks but he wasn't at his 'A' game best tonight. But we have to put more than two in as well."

Pouliot's first goal of the season gave the Oilers a 3-2 lead with 6:29 left in the second period. He came out from behind the net and banked the puck off Ward’s pads and into the net.

Gagner doubled the lead with 2:55 to play in the second, converting the rebound after Ward kicked out a Mike Comrie shot on an Edmonton power play.

"It's obviously a great feeling," Gagner said. "You never want to be in that situation. But it was great to have fun again. It's only one win. Hopefully it gives us some confidence."

Alberts got the Hurricanes on the board first when he beat Deslauriers off a faceoff win by Brandon Sutter during 4-on-4 play 2:42 into the game.

Jacques drew the Oilers even at the eight-minute mark with a bad-angle shot that deflected off Ward's glove and in, and Brule gave them a 2-1 lead seven minutes later by scoring off an O'Sullivan feed.

Jokinen tied the score again on a power-play goal at 10:49 of the second, skating through the Edmonton defense and flipping a shot over Deslauriers.

The Oilers, who suffered through a 14-game stretch in 1993 that featured 10 losses and four ties, had to go through the entire month of January without a victory but received a rousing ovation from their fans as they left the ice following the game.

"After all this, Edmonton fans are really something," Quinn said. "The reception that the players got after a month of frustration was just awesome. That is one of the good feelings."

Material from wire services was used in this report.

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