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Oilers open homestand in style

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
Prior to the game, the Oilers honoured former captain Doug Weight with a framed photo of Edmonton's skyline. Weight was playing in his 1000th NHL game.

St. Louis had several good scoring chances in the opening minute of the game. Radek Dvorak's shot from the side of the net, Lee Stempniak's wrister from the slot and Keith Tkachuk's rebound attempt were all denied by Roloson.

A minute later, the Oilers started to get some pressure. After a Matt Greene point shot, Manny Legace tried to pounce on the puck but Fernando Pisani swatted it loose, drawing a penalty in the process.

With Roloson just about off the ice, Petr Sykora then took it behind the net before feeding Ryan Smyth on the right side. Smyth's shot just barely made it over the line to give Edmonton a 1-0 lead.

The Oilers then had a power play five minutes into the period. The five-man unit of Lupul, Sykora, Hemsky, Tjarnqvist and Bergeron were out for the entire two minutes and had pressure in the St. Louis end the whole time but couldn't beat Legace.

9:30 into the period, the Oilers struck again. Lupul had a great chance at Legace's doorstep. That was stopped but Thoresen took the puck behind the net and out in front where Reasoner roofed it on the blocker side of the Blues' netminder.

With nine minutes to go in the first, penalties by Jay McClement and Ryan Johnson six seconds apart put the Oilers on a lengthy two-man advantage.

52 seconds into the two-man advantage, Marc-Andre Bergeron fired a rocket from the high slot that was tipped by Ryan Smyth in front. It was initially stopped by Legace's right pad but it had enough force to trickle over the line for Smyth's second of the game.

Just as the Johnson penalty was expiring, Sykora ripped a shot from the left circle that rang off the post behind Legace.

After one period, the Oilers had a three-goal lead and were outshooting St. Louis 12-10.

A strong shift by Pisani to open the second period eventually led to the Oilers' fourth goal. Pisani first dove to knock the puck away from Weight in the slot. He then carried the puck up ice and was upended by Radek Dvorak, putting Edmonton back on the power play.

On the ensuing man advantage, Joffrey Lupul scooped up the puck in the corner and wrapped it in past Legace to give Edmonton a four-goal lead. The goal also ended the night of Legace as he was replaced by Jason Bacashihua.

Seven minutes into the period, Matt Greene had a breakout pass intercepted by Keith Tkachuk. The St. Louis winger broke in alone on Roloson before deking him out for the Blues' first goal.

Midway through the second, Bergeron scored his first of the season while on the power play. He one-timed a pass from the right circle that snuck inside the right post behind Bacashihua.

After two, shots were 21-17 as the Oilers had a commanding four-goal lead.

The third period got off to a spirited start when Jamal Mayers and Winchester dropped the gloves two seconds in. The fight was an even battle between the two sides, though Winchester's blow did knock Mayers to the ice at the end.

15 seconds later, the Blues struck for their second of the game. Ryan Johnson wristed a shot from the right circle that handcuffed Roloson and made it a 5-2 game.

Despite the three-goal edge, the Oilers continued to put the pressure on St. Louis and didn't give the Blues many chances to close the gap further.

The Oilers cycled the puck well during a penalty to Dennis Wideman. In particular, Sykora and Hemsky passed the puck back and forth across the ice and generated plenty of chances but Bacashihua was solid in net.

Following the power play, the Oilers continued to pressure and drew a penalty to Barret Jackman as a result of their hard work.

On the ensuing man advantage, Fernando Pisani picked up the puck and skated in front of the net before roofing it on Bacashihua to make it a 6-2 game.

Next shift, Winchester redirected a pass from Reasoner in the slot but the Blues netminder made a brilliant glove stop.

A minute later, Winchester had a partial break but couldn't get a handle on the puck as he was barrelling towards the Blues net.

NOTES: Ales Hemsky matched a career high with three assists on the night... The Oilers had a season-high four power play goals and 10 power plays on the night...
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