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Schultz, Scrivens help Oilers end trip with win

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It's difficult to make much noise from the bottom of the standings, but the Edmonton Oilers are doing their part to be heard.

Justin Schultz broke a tie with a power-play goal in the third period and Ben Scrivens made 29 saves to give the Oilers a 2-1 win against the Carolina Hurricanes at PNC Arena on Sunday.

Edmonton is 9-4-2 in its past 15 games. The Oilers (24-36-9) finished their four-game road trip 2-1-1.

The Hurricanes (29-30-9) have lost nine of 12.

In a game that was tied 1-1 for nearly 30 minutes, the Oilers turned in a solid defensive performance, blocking 20 shots and clearing second-chance opportunities in front of Scrivens, who won his 13th game of the season (sixth with Edmonton).

"There's been this perception that we're this skilled, high offensive skilled team, and I don't see that," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "We have enough skill to win games, but we've had to change the perception of even our players that we need to play defense first. The puck's got to stay out of our net first, then we can let all the rest of the stuff come into place."

Edmonton forward Matt Hendricks scored his fifth goal of the season at 6:43 of the first period. After Boyd Gordon lifted a pass from the defensive zone to the offensive blue line, Hendricks lugged the puck behind the Carolina net, fought off defenseman Ryan Murphy and centered the puck. Instead of connecting with teammate Anton Lander, it bounced off Hurricanes forward Patrick Dwyer, then off defenseman Jay Harrison before finding the back of the net.

"He outworks their D-man on the forecheck and throws the puck in front," Scrivens said of Hendricks. "He does so many things well. He's a great role model for the younger guys to see how a true professional hockey player plays. He does everything right."

Carolina countered with Jordan Staal's 14th goal of the season. Staal batted in the rebound of his shot from the slot after taking a drop pass from Eric Staal. With the goal, Jordan Staal extended his scoring streak to six games (three goals, nine points).

The game remained tied 1-1 into the third period when Schultz took a pass from David Perron, crept in from the right point and used a couple of screens to beat Hurricanes goalie Anton Khudobin to the far post at 9:01.

"It was kind of a broken play over in the corner and Perron made a great pass to me," said Schultz, who assisted on Hendricks' goal. "The guys did a great job screening the goalie, so I put it on net. It wasn't the hardest shot, but it works."

Scrivens had to be sharp throughout. He squared up on Jordan Staal on the opening shift of the game, then stopped his close-range bid with 49 seconds remaining to provide bookend saves in a game when defensemen Martin Marincin and Andrew Ference each made four blocks.

"Ben Scrivens has been outstanding, as everyone knows in this League," Hendricks said. "You need goaltending to get points. And guys have been stepping up and playing well."

Scrivens, who signed a two-year contract extension March 14, earned his sixth win with Edmonton after being acquired in a trade from the Los Angeles Kings.

"Every little experience we have like this is another little building block," Scrivens said. "We're going to get more and more comfortable in those type of games. Hopefully it starts to pay dividends down the stretch this year and into next year."

Schultz echoed Scrivens' comments, thinking ahead to days when the Oilers occupy a higher position in the standings.

"Those are the kinds of games you'll have to win in the playoffs," Schultz said. "It's good for us. We're young back there and we played really well. Hopefully it's a confidence builder."

The Hurricanes are struggling to find any confidence at all. They have scored 16 goals in their past nine losses.

"It's frustrating," Jordan Staal said. "There are times we play so well, then there are times where it's just not working. It was a tight game, and we came up short."

The Hurricanes' 29th-ranked power play continued to struggle, going 0-for-3 with four shots.

"We change personnel around and try guys at different position, but at the end of the day, it's just getting results," Carolina coach Kirk Muller said. "We had several good scoring chances and the puck was on the right guys' sticks. We had a lot of opportunities to capitalize and we didn't."

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