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Oilers Start 2007 with 1000th Win

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
The Oilers had two good scoring chances 25 seconds into the game. First, Jarret Stoll carried the puck into the Panthers zone before rifling a wrist shot from the left circle. Ed Belfour got a piece of that shot with his glove and knocked it into the corner.

10 seconds later, Fernando Pisani's shot from the right circle eluded Belfour but hit the post behind the Panthers goaltender.

Five minutes in, Marty Reasoner was hammered from behind into the boards by Panthers defenceman Joel Kwiatkowski. The result of the play inexplicably was a hooking penalty, putting the Oilers on the power play for the first time.

On the ensuing power play, the Oilers came close to scoring the game's first goal as Marc-Andre Bergeron rifled a shot from the point on Belfour. Horcoff quickly pounded the rebound on net but Belfour was solid in making the second save.

After one, shots on goal were 10-7 for Florida over Edmonton.

Edmonton had some good chances early in the second as Horcoff and Hemsky were both whacking at the puck during a scramble in front of Belfour. The Cats' netminder stopped Horcoff on the backhander and then denied Hemsky on the rebound during the mad flurry.

The line of Toby Petersen, Jean-Francois Jacques and Marc Pouliot had a great shift, generating some of the Oilers' best chances of the night midway through the second.

On the first chance, the trio skated in on the rush. Pouliot slid it across the slot to Jacques but Belfour came across to get a piece of it.

Seconds later, Belfour had to be sharp again as Pouliot had a great chance from the slot but was denied.

The momentum carried over to the next shift as Hemsky, Smyth and Horcoff also had the Panthers pinned deep for close to a minute with a number of good chances. The fans gave the Oilers an ovation for their strong play over the three minute timeframe.

As the Oilers mounted more pressure and it started to look like Ed Belfour might be unbeatable, Edmonton finally saw a bounce go its way. Torres took the puck along the right side boards and threw it towards the net. The puck went off Belfour's pads and in to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead.

Some good, aggressive penalty killing by Pisani and Stoll late in the period ended up drawing a penalty to Olli Jokinen. As Pisani tried to break loose to get a clear shot on Belfour, the Panthers' centre grabbed a hold of his stick and was whistled for two minutes.

With Jokinen in the box, Gregory Campbell created a turnover and had a clear-cut breakaway but Marc-Andre Bergeron was able to race back up ice and catch up to him. Bergeron dove and knocked the puck off Campbell's stick just in time.

With time ticking down on that same power play, Hemsky weaved his way into the Panthers zone before completely undressing Belfour with a backhand deke move as the Oilers extended their lead to 2-0.

After two, shots on goal were 25-15 for Edmonton. The Oilers outshot the Panthers 18-5 in the middle frame.

Edmonton came out flying to start the second. Raffi Torres blasted a shot from the left circle and Belfour had to make a nice glove save.

At the other end, Roloson made a pair of big stops on Jokinen in-close to keep it a two-goal game.

As the third period carried on, the Panthers started to pick up the play a little more as they tried to get back in the game but the Oilers got another bounce as the period approached the 10-minute mark.

Fernando Pisani wristed a shot from the left circle that squeezed through Belfour's pads and into the back of the net.

Seconds later, the Panthers looked to get that one back but the officials ruled it was knocked down with a high stick.

With eight minutes left, Torres and Stoll created a two-on-one. Torres passed it across to Stoll who shot just wide.

The Oilers continued their onslaught just moments later as Belfour had some trouble handling the puck in his zone before dishing it off to Mike Van Ryn. Smyth stripped the puck from Van Ryn before deking out Belfour for the 4-0 marker.

Florida got a goal back less than two minutes after Smyth scored. While on the power play, Jokinen one-timed a blast from the high slot that went top corner on Roloson spoiling his shutout bid.
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