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Klesla scores wild OT goal for Columbus

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The game appeared to be headed for a shootout with a minute remaining in OT until Roloson skated out to play the puck after a Columbus dump-in. The Oilers netminder collided with Marc-Andre Bergeron as the puck squirted to Sergei Fedorov behind the Edmonton cage. Fedorov found Zherdev in front but with the wide-open net the Russian winger was unable to convert.

However, Rostislav Klesla was able to retrieve the puck in the corner and threw it out front. Roloson had not quite recovered and the puck bounced in off his pad and in, giving Columbus the victory.

The Oilers dominated the play early in the game, outshooting Columbus 7-1 five minutes in.

A pair of heavyweights dropped the mitts at the 5:09 mark when Georges Laraque and Jody Shelley fought. Laraque had the advantage early but Shelley connected with a knockdown punch to earn the draw.

It didn't take Sergei Samsonov long to make an impact. On an Oilers power play, Samsonov threaded a pass through the legs of Radoslav Suchy right on the tape of Ryan Smyth's stick where he just tapped it in.

Samsonov got his second assist as an Oiler just minutes later when Edmonton went on its second power play of the night. Samsonov dished the puck to Hemsky who found Spacek open at the point. The defenceman blasted the puck past Denis to double the Edmonton lead to 2-0.

Shots on goal with seven minutes to play in the opening period were 14-1 for the high-flying Oilers.

Columbus started to mount a bit of an attack late in the period thanks in part to a Steve Staios penalty but Roloson stood his ground. At the conclusion of the period, the Oilers were outshooting the Blue Jackets 15-4.

The Jackets went on the attack early in the second period, aided by a power play. Their best chance with the man advantage came on a quick wrister from Zherdev from the right faceoff circle, Zherdev's shot beat Roloson but rang off the crossbar.

As the penalty expired Roloson made a huge stop, sliding across to deny Balastik with a right pad save.

Several minutes later, the Blue Jackets were finally able to strike for their first goal of the night. Trevor Letowski took a nice backhand pass from Jason Chimera behind the Oilers net and converted to make it a 2-1 game.

Shots on goal six minutes into the second period were 9-0 for Columbus.

The Oilers were looking to swing the momentum back in their direction as Samsonov, Stoll and Dvorak rushed up ice. Jody Shelley held up the progress of Dvorak to set the stage for the Oilers' fourth power play of the evening. But Blue Jackets penalty killers limited their opponents' chances this time, reducing the Oilers to a single shot on goal during the two minutes.

With 7:39 to play in the second Sergei Fedorov was sent off for goaltender interference, setting the stage for an Oilers two-man advantage.

Action on this power play was fast and furious on both sides, first Hartigan was denied on a partial break after coming out of the box followed by Chris Pronger being denied on a blast from the point on a nice glove grab by Denis.

Shortly after the second penalty expired, Raffi Torres found Michael Peca alone in front of the Blue Jackets net as he redirected it behind Denis to make it a 3-1 game.

Just when it looked like the Oilers might have some breathing room, the Blue Jackets responded to close the deficit to a single goal once again 1:17 later. Zherdev left the puck for Fedorov in the high slot where the veteran fired a bullet past Roloson.

Columbus had a power play late in the period after Stoll inadvertently cleared the puck over the glass and out of play. The Edmonton PK was good enough to ensure the Oilers would head into the second intermission with a one-goal lead.

Shots on goal after two were 21-20 in favour of the Jackets as they outshot Edmonton 18-5 in the middle frame.

Both goaltenders shone five minutes into the third. First, Roloson sprawled across his crease to deny Nikolai Zherdev followed seconds later by an outstanding pokecheck by Denis on Fernando Pisani as the Oiler skated in on a partial breakaway.

Midway through the third, Columbus scored on a goal by Nikolai Zherdev to tie the game at 3-3. From behind the net, Rick Nash fed Sergei Fedorov in the slot. Fedorov redirected a shot on net that Roloson stopped but he was unable to corral the rebound as it squirted out to Zherdev.

At the end of regulation time, shots on goal were 29-27 as the Oilers and Blue Jackets took a 3-3 tie to overtime.

Early in the extra frame, Zherdev almost scored to end it. After stripping Samsonov of the puck at his own blueline, Zherdev skated coast to coast but was unable to get a clean shot on Roloson.

NOTES: Ales Hemsky was able to suit up for the Oilers despite his bout with the flu... Todd Harvey was a healthy scratch... Sergei Samsonov started the game on a line with Rem Murray and Georges Laraque... Columbus is 9-0 when Fedorov picks up a point on home ice... Columbus has won 12 of 14 games that have gone into extra time this season.
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