EDMONTON – Lubomir Visnovsky, Ales Hemsky and Andrew Cogliano led the way with a goal and an assist each as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Dallas Stars 5-2 Wednesday, ending a five-game losing streak at home.
Shawn Horcoff and Marc Pouliot also scored for Edmonton in a battle between two teams who entered the game sharing the Western Conference basement. The Oilers (11-11-2) won for the first time at home since Oct. 18 and leapt from a three-way tie for last in the West to a three-way tie for ninth.
Mike Modano replied with a pair of goals for Dallas (9-12-4), which saw its season-long two-game winning streak come to an end. The Stars had also won the previous seven meetings between the two teams in Edmonton.
Dallas was missing controversial forward Sean Avery, who was out of the lineup after being suspended indefinitely for his vulgar pre-game comments on Tuesday before the Stars 3-1 victory in Calgary.
Avery will meet with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman on Thursday
Edmonton got onto the board quickly with a goal just 1:10 into the first as Horcoff blasted a shot after crossing the blue-line that blew past Dallas starter Marty Turco, a goal the Stars goalie would likely like back.
The Oilers went up by two with just 12 seconds to play in the first as Cogliano fed Visnovsky at the point, and he unleashed a bullet stick-side on Turco for a 2-0 Edmonton lead after the first.
The Oilers kept coming early in the second as rookie Rob Schremp earned his first career NHL point, making a long pass to Pouliot that he banked in off a sprawling Turco to make it 3-0.
Dallas had a chance to get back in it midway through the second on the power play as Loui Eriksson slid the puck under Oilers goalie Mathieu Garon, but missed the open net. It was Garon’s first start for Edmonton since Nov. 6.
The Stars finally scored 1:07 into the third as Garon made the initial save on a Fabian Brunnstrom shot, but the rebound came to Modano who tucked his 10th of the season through the Oiler goalie’s legs.
Dallas made it interesting by scoring with just 1:40 to play as Modano scored his second of the game on a shot through the legs of defender Tom Gilbert and past Garon.
The Oilers quickly responded with Hemsky’s empty-netter and they rubbed some salt in the wound as Cogliano scored with just 12 seconds remaining.
There was a scary moment midway through the third as Mark Parrish took a puck in the face on a Stephane Robidas slapshot, but the veteran forward was able to remain in the game.
Both teams return to the ice on Friday as the Oilers travel to Los Angeles while Dallas starts a three-game home-stand against Colorado.
Notes: With Oilers forward Robert Nilsson sidelined for up to 10 days with a shoulder injury, recent call-up Rob Schremp took his place on the Kid Line with Andrew Cogliano and Sam Gagner. Schremp, 22, had one goal and 17 assists in 18 games in Springfield this season The game matched two of the three worst penalty killing teams in the NHL with Dallas sitting 28th in the league in the category and the Oilers in 29th Wednesday’s game was the first of eight home games for Edmonton in December after playing only seven games in total at Rexall Place in October and November.