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Oilers stun Flyers 1-0

by John Kreiser
A new month has meant a whole new look for the Edmonton Oilers.

After going 0-for-January, the Oilers improved to 2-0-0 in February when Ryan Potulny scored a power-play goal with 17 seconds remaining to give Edmonton a 1-0 victory over the Philadelphia Flyers on Wednesday night.

With Darroll Powe in the penalty box, ex-Flyer Potulny drove to the net and whacked Sam Gagner's backhand pass behind Michael Leighton for the only goal of the game -- making a winner of Jeff Deslauriers, who stopped all 33 shots he faced for his second shutout of the season.

"We battled all game and worked hard, we deserved that one," Potulny said.

"We had a little luck tonight, but it's about time for us. It's just nice to get a win."

Despite the back-to-back victories, the Oilers still have just three wins in their last 23 games and are last in the overall standings thanks to a 13-game losing streak that ended with a 4-2 win over Carolina on Monday.

But they're starting to feel better about themselves.

"When you lose 12 or 13 in row it does a lot to your confidence late in games," said Gagner. "Being able to pull that one out against Carolina gave us a lot of confidence and it showed. Tonight we weren't tentative. We were playing aggressive right to the very end. We were able to draw a penalty and score on the power play."

Leighton made 26 stops for the Flyers, who had won their last two games and carried the play for most of the night.

"The team played well in front of me," Leighton said. "Defensively, we're playing well, blocking shots, and our penalty kill was good tonight. They kind of got a lucky bounce at the end, the guy (Gagner) feeds it across and (Mike Richards) is right there but their guy barely taps it in. It's a tough loss."

Richards took part of the blame for the goal.

"It was a missed assignment on my part," the Flyers captain said. "We had a lot of chances and couldn't score. It's disappointing."

Coach Peter Laviolette agreed that his team had plenty of opportunities to break a losing streak at Rexall Place that dates to March 19, 2001.

"We had our chances," he said. "We just couldn't find the back of the net."
Philadelphia had the better of the chances in the scoreless first period. Deslauriers robbed Danny Briere midway through the period after Briere stole the puck from Denis Grebeshkov in front of the net. Richards later misfired on a wide-open net.

The Flyers continued to dominate the play in the second period, particularly on a power play with six minutes left, but Deslauriers was up to the task. He then caught a break with just over a minute left as Lukas Krajicek hit a post to keep the game scoreless after 40 minutes.

"Tonight we bent but didn't break," coach Pat Quinn said. "It was nice to watch."
Ethan Moreau had a chance to get Edmonton on the board with six minutes left in the third, but his shot from the slot deflected off a leg on its way into the net.
The Oilers dodged a bullet late in the third when defenseman Alex Plante, playing just his second NHL game, put the puck into the stands with five minutes to play and was called for delay of game. Edmonton was able to kill off the penalty.

"I hate that call," Quinn said. "We should be able to determine a deliberate move on that, but not an automatic. But our guys rallied and did a pretty good job there."

Material from team media and wire services was used in this report.

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