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Messier's night; Oilers fall 3-0

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Prior to the game, the fans of Rexall Place had the opportunity to see Mark Messier in an Oilers uniform one last time. Messier came onto the ice carrying the Stanley Cup over his head. All other former Oiler jersey retirees were on hand - Paul Coffey, Grant Fuhr, Jari Kurri, Wayne Gretzky and Al Hamilton.

Marc Pouliot had a good scoring chance early on for Edmonton, wristing a shot from the right circle that Curtis Joseph had trouble with. The puck trickled through his legs before the Coyotes netminder finally fell on it.

The newly-minted line of Ales Hemsky, Fernando Pisani and Shawn Horcoff created some offence deep in the Phoenix end just past the midway point of period one. Pisani spun and fired a shot from the slot that may have surprised Joseph but went just wide.

With Danny Syvret in the penalty box, Phoenix capitalized to score the game's first goal. Derek Morris found Owen Nolan in the slot and Nolan was able to beat Roloson with a wrister after the Oilers netminder was upended in the crease.

The Coyotes continued to put on the pressure. Late in the period, they cycled the puck deep in the Edmonton zone for close to a minute but were unable to get the puck to the middle to create a dangerous scoring chance.

Bill Thomas came within inches of making it 2-0 but his redirection from the top of the crease just missed the wide-open net.

Shots on goal after one period were 10-2 for Phoenix.

The Oilers had two good chances early in the second. Pisani's one-timer from the left circle was stopped by Joseph. Next shift, Lupul had two cracks at it from the top of the crease and Joseph was sharp in turning both attempts away.

Within the first 1:25 of period two, the Oilers already had four shots - double their total for the entire first period.

Three minutes into the second, Zack Stortini dropped the gloves with Josh Gratton. Gratton got the better of Stortini early on as the Oilers enforcer struggled to get off his elbow pad but he got some shots in later.

Less than a minute later, Jason Smith dropped the gloves with Coyotes defenceman Nick Boynton for a quick bout as both sides started to get heated up. Smith also received two for elbowing on the play.

On the ensuing power play, Yanick Lehoux swatted the puck in past an outstretched Roloson as the Oilers netminder struggled to get across and make the save. The goal was Lehoux's first in his NHL career.

Phoenix started to really put some pressure on the Oilers defence midway through the second. Steve Reinprecht took a pass from Shane Doan before cutting through the Oilers defence and backhanding the puck through the legs of Roloson.

Jeremy Roenick rang a shot off the crossbar on a three-on-one rush with about six minutes to go in the period.

Late in the second, J-F Jacques fought Boynton and got the better of him particularly late in the bout with some surprising rights knocking Boynton to the ground.

After two periods, shots on goal were 22-14 for Phoenix.

With 12:55 left in the third period, the Oilers finally received their first power play of the game when Fredrik Sjostrom chopped the stick right out of Lupul's hands as he carried the puck into the Phoenix zone.

The Oilers couldn't generate a goal on the power play, but just as it expired they started to pin the Coyotes deep and get some pressure. Joffrey Lupul led the attack with several shots on goal while cycling the puck behind the net. Their hard work resulted in another penalty drawn, Shane Doan for tripping.

18 seconds into that power play, Nolan was sent off for sucker punching Mathieu Roy in the face. Boynton then received two for delay of game as he did not play the puck in an effort to run some time off the clock.

With nine seconds left in the Doan penalty, Joseph came across and made a great glove save on Pouliot in the slot to preserve his shutout.
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