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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

tonight."

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."

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.

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