Gagner, Roloson lead Oilers past Canucks

EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — Sam Gagner had a goal and two assists,
Dwayne Roloson made 43 saves and the Edmonton Oilers kept their
slim playoff hopes alive with a 5-3 victory over the Vancouver
Canucks on Saturday night.

Ales Kotalik, Denis Grebeshkov, Ales Hemsky and Sheldon Souray
also scored to help the Oilers snap a three-game losing streak.

“It just feels good to win a game and to get some smiles around
here,” Oilers captain Ethan Moreau said. “We just want those
last two games against Calgary to mean something More for our
own psyche than anything else.”

Edmonton is three points behind St. Louis and Nashville in the
race for the final Western Conference playoff spot.

“It was a big win, for sure,” Oilers coach Craig MacTavish after
his 300th career win. “It buys us a little time and buys us a
little hope and that’s all we could ask for going into the game

Mason Raymond, Kyle Wellwood and Alex Burrows scored for
Vancouver. The Canucks missed an chance to move two points ahead
of Calgary for the Northwest Division lead.

“At the end of the day, their goaltender played a real solid
game,” Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. “In my mind he was
the difference in this game. One thing that was uncharacteristic
was when ever we got close we made mistakes that we don’t
usually make and they found a way to put it in the back of our
net, so they made us pay for our mistakes and we weren’t able to
do the same thing.”

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Kotalik opened the scoring 27 seconds into the first period,
picking up a rebound on Shawn Horcoff’s shot and stuffing it
past Roberto Luongo.

The Oilers made it 2-0 midway through the second. Gagner’s wide
shot bounced off the boards to Grebeshkov and he was able to
hook the puck in while lying on his back after being knocked
down in front of the net.

The Canucks finally got a goal 7 minutes into the third when
Mats Sundin sent a backhand to Raymond in front of the net and
he was somehow able to stuff in it between Roloson and the post.

The Oilers regained the two-goal cushion midway through the
third on Gagner’s highlight-reel goal. He danced past a pair of
defenders, then deked Luongo with a backhander to make it 3-1.

Vancouver pulled within one again with 7 minutes when Burrows
scored on a breakaway. Roloson made the initial save, but
Burrows was able to tuck in his own rebound for his 28th goal of
the season.

But just 2 minutes later, Edmonton struck again as Souray earned
his 50th point of the season with a power-play blast.

The Canucks cut the lead to one once more with just 1:37 to go
on Wellwood’s power- play goal, but Hemsky countered with an
empty-net goal.

Notes: The teams spilt the season series 3-3. … Taylor Pyatt
was not with the Canucks after returning home to Thunder Bay,
Ontario. His fiancee died in a car crash in Jamaica this week.