NHL Game Summary - Atlanta at Edmonton
(Wednesday, February 11th)
Final Score: Edmonton 5, Atlanta 1
Edmonton, AB (Sports Network) - Shawn Horcoff and Raffi Torres each had a goal and an assist as the Edmonton Oilers defeated the Atlanta Thrashers, 5-1, at Rexall Place.
Georges Laraque, Jarret Stoll and Ales Hemsky also lit the lamp for the Oilers, winners of three straight for the first time since a four-game win streak in mid-November. Ryan Smyth had the primary assist on two Edmonton goals, while Ty Conklin made 22 saves to backstop the win.
Serge Aubin had the only Atlanta goal, while Pasi Nurminen allowed two goals on 15 shots in relief of Byron Dafoe, who left the game after the first period with an apparent groin injury. Dafoe stopped 15 of the 17 shots he faced.
The Thrashers now have season-long streaks of six games without earning a point and 10 games without a win (0-8-2). Atlanta has just two wins since December 28 (2-15-3-1).
Edmonton jumped out to a 2-0 lead with a pair of goals within a 2 1/2 minute span in the opening stanza. Torres' goal, his 17th, opened the scoring 10:38 into the contest when a wrist shot from the point bounced off his shoulder at the side of the net and in past Dafoe.
Laraque doubled the margin when he stuffed home a feed from behind the net by Smyth for his third tally of the season.
"Huge win for us," Laraque said. "The first game back from the All-Star break, it was a must win for us just like every game is from here on in if we want to make it to a playoff spot."
Aubin's eighth early in the second trimmed the deficit to 2-1, and the score stayed that way through the first 40 minutes of play.
Horcoff netted his 10th of the campaign just 2:05 into the third period when Smyth outworked an Atlanta defender in the corner and then sent the puck out to Horcoff for the one-timer.
The Oilers added an insurance marker with 7:41 remaining on Stoll's goal as he took a cross-ice feed from Torres on an odd-man rush to slide a shot past a helpless Nurminen.
The game became a chippy affair in the closing stages after a fight between Garnet Exelby and Ethan Moreau set the tone for the final five minutes. With 1:49 left, the action climaxed as all 12 players on the ice, including the two netminders, paired off to battle.
Oilers rookie Mike Bishai was thrown into the Atlanta bench by Aubin during a scrum, but he was undeterred, getting up quickly to unleash a few haymakers on Aubin.
"It's funny, it was an awkward situation," said Bishai. "I felt like there was a tug on my jersey, and I don't know who it was, but I was in their bench. We sort of stopped, then I looked where I was, and started swinging."
Nurminen, however, was given a game misconduct for his fracas, leaving the Thrashers without a goaltender for the final 1:49, as Dafoe never returned to the bench. Tommy Salo filled in at the other end, making two saves in the closing stages.
"I had a couple of fights in the minors but this is a first in the NHL," said Nurminen. "You give a couple [punches], you take a couple. It makes you feel alive. It didn't cross my mind that I was the only goalie left."
Atlanta was forced to play with six attackers and an empty net, resulting in the final tally by Hemsky with 49 ticks left.
The teams combined for a total of 173 penalty minutes in the last five minutes...The game was the only matchup between the two clubs this season...Laraque has scored three goals in his last five games after going 46 games without a goal...The Oilers improved to 16-0-0 when leading after two periods.
02/12 01:37:36 ET