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Oilers snap slump with 2-1 victory

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers caught a break while killing a penalty six minutes into the game when Brian Rolston rang a blast from 60 feet out. The shot deflected off Roloson's right pad before hitting the post.

Several minutes later, Minnesota was thought to have scored the game's first goal when Matthias Weinhandl scooped the puck over the goal line during a scramble in front of Roloson but after a lengthy discussion, the officials ruled incidental contact on the part of Wes Walz which resulted in the goal being waived off.

The Oilers picked up some momentum after the disallowed marker and turned that into a goal of their own seconds later. Chris Pronger teed up a shot from the right point that beat Fernandez clean, making it 1-0 Oilers.

Sparks started to fly between the two division rivals after Edmonton took the lead. Alex Henry and Matt Greene dropped the gloves and engaged in a marathon bout which got teams on both benches riled up.

Shots on goal after one period were 11-9 in favour of the Oilers.

Edmonton penalty killers came up big early in the second, killing off a lengthy two-man advantage with two of the team's top penalty killers - Peca and Pronger - in the box.

Seven minutes into the period, the Oilers had a power play opportunity of their own and capitalized. Jaroslav Spacek wired a shot that Ryan Smyth deflected in front. The puck rang off both posts before bouncing off Fernandez and across the line to increase Edmonton's lead to 2-0.

Midway through the period a pair of heavyweights collided for a heavyweight bout as Derek Boogaard and Georges Laraque traded blows. Boogaard got the jump on Laraque in the fight but in the end Laraque recovered enough for it to be declared a draw.

The Wild were desperate for a goal as the second period neared an end. A holding call on Steve Staios with just over four minutes to go in the middle frame set up Minnesota's sixth power play of the night.

Although Minnesota was able to sustain pressure throughout the two minutes, Edmonton penalty killers limited their opponents' opportunities to the outside.

Shots after 40 were 20-17 in favour of Edmonton.

Early in the third period the Wild finally struck for a power play goal on their seventh try. Kurtis Foster blasted one from the left circle then chased his own rebound which rang off the post and in behind Roloson to draw the Wild within a goal at 2-1.

Instead of letting the goal deflate them, the Oilers came back on the attack for the next few minutes. Jarret Stoll had a good chance on the rush and Fernandez made some big stops during a mad scramble in his crease keeping it a one-goal game.

Fernandez continued to be sharp, stopping Pisani with his blocker.

At the other end of the ice, Roloson made a big save of his own after denying Brent Burns on a close tip in front. On the next shift, Roloson came across and denied Todd White on a one-time attempt.

Edmonton's mettle was tested with five minutes to play in the game after Shawn Horcoff was ticketed for a high sticking penalty. The PK unit was outstanding when the team needed it the most, stepping up their play to kill the two minutes.

The Oilers were able to limit the Wild to only a handful of chances for the rest of the game, leading the way to the victory.

NOTES: Todd Harvey drew back into the lineup tonight for the Oilers with Rem Murray a healthy scratch... Fernando Pisani took a rare turn down the middle, centering a line with Ethan Moreau and Radek Dvorak. Through the first two periods he was 1-for-6 on faceoffs... Tonight's game was the fourth straight since acquiring Roloson that the Oilers have allowed 30 or more shots against.
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