EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ Oilers coach Craig MacTavish knew it would be tough
for his players to face former teammate Mike Comrie.
He was impressed with the way his Edmonton club overcame its emotions well
enough to beat Comrie and the Phoenix Coyotes 5-4 Tuesday night in overtime.
``I think everybody was a little overwhelmed by the whole situation,''
MacTavish said. ``It's a tough situation. The hockey mentality is always to
rally around a teammate. He hasn't been out of here that long, so I think there
was some empathy for him and the situation he was going through from our team.
``That's not necessarily a bad thing as long as you get the win. I thought
we did what we had to against him.''
Ryan Smyth had three points, including the winning goal 2:26 into overtime.
Smyth, who also scored on a power-play goal early in the second period, won
a faceoff and chipped the puck forward before banging it behind Brian Boucher.
``I got a lucky break off the draw,'' Smyth said. ``It went off a skate and
came back to me, I kicked it up and I just found a hole.''
Steve Staios, Georges Laraque and Jason Smith also scored for the Oilers,
who are unbeaten in six home games and at .500 for the first time since
``We couldn't afford a tie,'' Laraque said.
Mike Sillinger, Tyson Nash, Chris Gratton and Daymond Langkow replied for
The game was Comrie's first in Edmonton since the Oilers' six-game playoff
loss to Dallas last spring. Comrie held out in a contract dispute, forcing a
midseason trade to Philadelphia.
Last month, the Flyers dealt him to Phoenix.
He did little against his former club other than draw the ire of fans, who
booed him during the pregame warmup and continued the serenade throughout the
``It was different,'' Comrie said. ``I've had some great memories here. I
only had a short few years, but I loved playing here and it's exciting to play
here even when you get the odd boo.''
The sellout crowd was pleased when Oilers forward Jarret Stoll laid a hit on
Comrie near the boards in the opening period.
``When you're in competition like the National Hockey League, you're
fighting for every inch,'' Comrie said of Stoll, a former Western Hockey League
teammate. ``Sometimes, you have to battle with your friends. I've got a lot of
great friends on that team and I respect every one of them.
``Both teams play hard and that's all you can expect.''
It almost looked like Comrie's new team would pull out a victory. Langkow
tied it 4-4 with 1:16 remaining in regulation after Staios had given the Oilers
a lead earlier in the period.
With Tommy Salo down, Langkow lifted a shot behind the goaltender following
a scramble around the net.
Gratton set up Nash's goal in the second period, then tied the game 2-2 on a
terrific effort. He rushed up the middle of the ice and had his first attempt
turned away before gathering his rebound and beating Salo.
``It's very disappointing,'' Phoenix captain Shane Doan said. ``You feel you
have an opportunity. We score a late goal to get maybe two points, instead we
give one up in overtime.
``The effort was better. We couldn't capitalize on some of our chances.''
Phoenix jumped to a quick 1-0 lead just 1:24 into the game when Sillinger
got a second chance in front of the Oilers net and lifted a shot past Salo, who
was sprawled on the ice.
Edmonton responded on Laraque's goal before Smith and Smyth made it 3-1.
Salo stopped 29 shots for his 16th win.