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Wild Edge Oilers 2-1 in Shootout

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
"It's disappointing," said Peca after the game. "There's nothing you can do once it's over. Maybe one thing we could have done if we knew it was across the goal line is call a timeout to wait and see if anything changed."

Peca's goal came only 30 seconds after Smyth scored to tie the game and would have swung momentum over to the Oilers in a big way.

But to Edmonton's credit, they battled hard throughout the game despite the setback. A red-hot Manny Fernandez eventually did the team in despite some outstanding scoring chances late in the third and overtime.

"I thought we played a pretty solid game. Even in the last five minutes, we had a flurry in front of Fernandez and he made some real big saves for them," Peca remarked. "But you know how it is, once you get into a shootout it's a real crapshoot."

In the shootout, Samsonov got things off on the right foot for Edmonton, shooting five-hole on a close chance. Minnesota's Mikko Koivu netted a backhand marker on his shootout attempt to tie it.

In the next round, both Ales Hemsky and Marian Gaborik were stopped on dekes.

Ryan Smyth almost lost control of puck before getting denied by Fernandez on a forehand deke.

1:30 into the game, the Oilers had a pair of great scoring chances. Ryan Smyth couldn't lift the puck over a fallen Manny Fernandez and Shawn Horcoff hit the side of the net with his rebound.

The game went whistle-free for the first 6:23 with most of the pressure in the Minnesota end. Prior to Fernandez covering the puck for a whistle, Raffi Torres almost stuffed the puck in on a wraparound attempt.

After the whistle and subsequent TV timeout, it was Minnesota's turn to put on the pressure. Roloson made a nice stop off a Nick Schultz blast from the left slot to keep it scoreless.

With shots on goal 7-3 in favour of Edmonton, Stephane Veilleux scored with 5:05 left to play in the opening period. Veilleux wristed a shot high past Roloson from the right faceoff circle to give the host side a 1-0 lead.

After a speedy first period that lasted only 30 minutes, the Oilers were down by a goal with shots even at 7-7.

The Oilers looked to have an uphill climb, down a goal after one and down a man to start the second but the Oilers had an outstanding penalty kill to get back in the game.

It started with a shorthanded goal - Edmonton's 14th of the season - by Ryan Smyth as he took the puck end-to-end before jamming it past Fernandez. On that same Minnesota power play, Jason Smith blasted a shot from the point that Fernandez stopped. Moreau was denied on the first rebound before Peca was absolutely robbed on a backhand attempt.

Fernandez extended his stick paddle to swat the puck away on what looked like a brilliant save. After video review, the play was ruled no goal but on a closer look it appeared that the puck did indeed cross the goal line.

Oilers came within inches of taking the lead again minutes later but Ales Hemsky's wrister from the left faceoff circle rang off the post.

After Wes Walz took a delay-of-game penalty, the Oilers went on their second power play of the night with just over five minutes to play in the middle frame.

However, the league's top-ranked penalty kill unit showed why it leads the league, limiting the Oilers to no shots and perhaps one scoring chance over the two minutes.

With under two minutes to play in the second and both teams playing four on four, Minnesota came dangerously close to regaining the lead. Brent Burns looked to have Roloson beat as he went wide before attempting to tuck the puck around the Oilers netminder. Roloson was able to get a glove on the puck to make the stop.

After the play, the Wild continued to pour on the pressure, drawing an Edmonton penalty and blasting pucks on the stickless Roloson.

On the ensuing power play, Brian Rolston cut across the slot with a great scoring chance and Horcoff had to hook him to take away the opportunity. The play put Edmonton down two men with 20 seconds left to play in the period.

Shots on goal after 40 minutes were 18-16 for the Oilers.

Edmonton penalty killers continued to come up big, killing off the remaining seconds of the five-on-three and subsequent five-on-four to start the third.

Midway through the final frame, Edmonton had a turn on its own man advantage but were unable to generate much in the way of activity deep in the Wild end. The best chances on the power play came shorthanded to Minnesota's Brian Rolston.

Just as the penalty expired, Pisani tried to locate a loose puck in the Wild goalmouth but it was swatted away before he could jam it in.

With three minutes to go in regulation, Roloson slid across to make a huge pad save off Wes Walz. After Gaborik took the initital shot, the rebound went to Walz in front but Roloson was able to kick his left leg out to commit robbery.

Not to be outdone, Fernandez was outstanding making brilliant save after save on Ales Hemsky as Edmonton pressed to get the win in regulation.

For the first time in this eight-game series, the Oilers and Wild went to overtime. Shots on goal after regulation were 28-24 for Edmonton.

Both teams had some great chances in the extra frame, with perhaps the best going to Mattias Weinhandl who had a wide-open net after Roloson made the initial stop on a Kurtis Foster one-timer. Weinhandl's redirection went just wide of the open cage.

Edmonton's best OT chance came with about 20 seconds left as Hemsky threw the puck to Jason Smith in the slot but the Oilers' captain couldn't get a handle on it.
Shootout Results:
(Goal scorers in bold)

Sergei Samsonov, Ales Hemsky, Ryan Smyth

Miikko Koivu, Marian Gaborik, Brian Rolston

NOTES: Dwayne Roloson made his 15th straight start since being traded to Edmonton and fourth against his old team... Todd Harvey drew back into the lineup, playing on the fourth line with Pouliot and Pisani. Brad Winchester was a healthy scratch... Edmonton went to overtime for the 25th time this season, a league high...
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