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Oilers drop Game 4 to Hurricanes

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The game got off to a much more physical start than either of the first three games, with the Oilers throwing the body around more than the Hurricanes.

8:40 into the period, the Oilers finally struck for the game's first goal. Sergei Samsonov carried the puck over the line before a nice backhand pass to Radek Dvorak who was trailing on the rush. Dvorak threw the puck right back to Samsonov who tipped it past Ward to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.

"I thought we started the game really well, moved the puck well, and then we were the beneficiary of a number of power plays and lost some momentum through those power plays," said Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "Then we started to get frustrated and the power plays kept coming and we got away from the structure that had made us a pretty formidable power play through the first three series."

29 seconds after Edmonton made it 1-0, Carolina scored on their first power play of the game. Cory Stillman one-timed a Frantisek Kaberle pass to tie it at 1-1.

Edmonton came close to taking the lead in the latter half of the opening period after back-to-back penalties to Andrew Ladd and Ray Whitney gave the Oilers some extended time on the man advantage. As has been the story throughout this series, the Hurricanes penalty kill did a great job again.

Carolina's third penalty of the game came at the 15:35 mark, Ray Whitney once again for hooking. 48 seconds later, Aaron Ward was sent off for high sticking to put the Oilers up two men. The Hurricanes killed those off as well.

After one period, shots on goal were 8-4 in favour of the Oilers.

Markkanen made a big stop early in the second for the Oilers off Matt Cullen at the top of the crease to keep the game tied 1-1.

The Oilers netminder made another huge stop several minutes later with his team on the penalty kill, reaching over to get his stick on a Brind'Amour wrister from the bottom of the left circle. Just before the penalty expired, Markkanen made a huge pad stack stop on Whitney.

With four minutes left in the second, Carolina clicked for their second of the game. Eric Staal had the puck in the slot where he fed Mark Recchi, who was posted to the right side of Markkanen.

The Oilers' lead in shots was cut following the second period to 16-15.

Both goaltenders made big stops early in the third to keep it a 2-1 game. Shawn Horcoff's one-time attempt was kicked away by Cam Ward and when the Hurricanes took the play back up ice, Markkanen made a marvelous glove stop.

Ward made a pair of solid stops just past the midway point of the third to keep his team in front. After turning away a point blast from Pronger, he stopped Torres on the backhand attempt.

"Every time we get the puck in their zone and get possession of the puck, we get it back to the point ad we did a better job moving the puck, but there are five guys in front of the net," said MacTavish. "We have got to be more determined in front of the net, because quite clearly, they are protecting that area."

With 4:38 to play, Jason Smith was sent off for hooking after putting his stick on Craig Adams after the 'Canes winger broke into the Edmonton zone on a two-on-one.

While shorthanded, Steve Staios almost tipped in a Rem Murray pass to tie the game. Staios redirected the feed but it went just wide of the net.

In the final minute, the Oilers pressed to tie the game but couldn't solve Ward.

NOTES: Josef Vasicek drew into the lineup for the first time this series with Chad LaRose drawing out for Carolina... Dvorak's assist on the Samsonov goal was his first point of this postseason in 13 games... Stillman increased his scoring streak to 12 games with his goal and an assist on Recchi's goal. He has six goals and 10 assists for 16 points during the streak... Carolina improved to 8-0 when leading after two periods.
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