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Horcoff Hat Trick leads Oilers over Penguins

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers dominated the play early on, pinning Pittsburgh in their zone for a good couple of minutes but were unable to generate a quality scoring chance.

Several minutes later Colby Armstrong and Greg Jacina had a two-on-one opportunity for the Penguins but it was played well by Staios and Markkanen, limiting the chance.

Shawn Horcoff was robbed by Marc-Andre Fleury eight minutes into the period on a one timer. Fleury slid across to block the shot.

Late in the first period, Sidney Crosby skated to the Penguins bench with an injury after being struck by a linesman but he returned without missing a shift.

Jarret Stoll had a breakaway opportunity with the Oilers on the power play but shot wide.

On that same penalty, the Oilers had another shorthanded chance and this time they converted. Horcoff, Ryan Smyth and Steve Staios broke in on a three-on-one. Horcoff elected to shoot and beat Fleury five-hole.

Shots on goal in the first period were 11-6 in favour of Edmonton.

The Oilers almost took a two-goal lead early in the second but Fleury made a nice glove stop off Raffi Torres, who wired a shot from the right faceoff circle.

Markkanen had to be sharp several minutes later during a four-on-four situation as Mark Recchi and Michel Oullet worked a nice give-and-go that ended with Markkanen making a nice pad stop off Oullet.

Fleury continued to thwart Oilers shooters and in particular Shawn Horcoff. He made a brilliant save on Horcoff in the slot and then several minutes later with Pittsburgh on the power play, Fleury slid across to stop a Horcoff redirection in front. On that play, Horcoff was hauled down by Gonchar to put an end to the Penguins man advantage.

Shots after two periods were 24-11 for the Oilers but Edmonton continued to lead by a slim one-goal margin.

Horcoff's hard work throughout the game paid off with his second of the game 44 seconds into the final frame. His backhand shot from the slot beat Fleury five hole to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead.

Seven minutes into the third, Pittsburgh struck for its first of the game. Josef Melichar fired a shot from the point that was tipped on its way to the net by Ryan Malone before beating Markkanen glove side.

The Penguins poured on the pressure late in the third, pressing for the equalizer. Markkanen stepped up and made some big stops to keep Edmonton up by a goal.

With 5:30 left, Georges Laraque fired one that Fleury had trouble handling. The puck bounced over the Pens netminder and wide of the empty cage.

With time winding down in the third, Shawn Horcoff scored again for his first career pro hat-trick. After breaking in with Todd Harvey on a two-on-one, Horcoff looked off Harvey before scoring five-hole for the third time.

NOTES: Referee Don Van Massenhoven made his return to the NHL after being struck in the face by the puck earlier this season... Cory Cross drew back into the lineup for Edmonton with Igor Ulanov taking a seat in the press box... Sidney Crosby had his 11-game scoring streak snapped... Horcoff's hat-trick was the first by an Oiler since Fernando Pisani had three goals on March 22, 2003 vs. Washington... Uncharacteristically, the Penguins dominated Edmonton in the faceoff circle, 59% to 41%. Peca was 41% and Stoll was 20%.
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