NHL

Tue, Feb 24, 2009 - 9:00 PM ET
Game Recap
 

Oilers grease Lightning to stay in hunt

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EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)

Still smarting from giving up a point against their provincial rivals, the Edmonton Oilers made sure they finished off a much-needed win against Tampa Bay. Sheldon Souray led the way with a pair of goals as the Oilers snapped a three-game skid with a 5-3 victory over the Lightning on Tuesday night. "This was huge for us to get the momentum moving forward," Oilers forward Sam Gagner said. "Especially after the last three games. We had a couple mistakes but we also did a lot of things right. A lot of guys stepped up here. It was a character win. Hopefully we can build on it." Erik Cole, Jason Strudwick and Andrew Cogliano also scored for the Oilers. Cole said the team needed to erase the memory of last Saturday, when Calgary was able to tie the Oilers with 1:05 left and win 3-2 in a shootout. "Every game is important right now," he said. "It doesn't matter who you are playing. It's that time of year where you can't be squandering points. We needed a win, especially coming off a game where we blew two points in the final minute." Cory Murphy had two goals and Steven Stamkos also scored for the Lightning, who have lost five of their last six games overall and six in a row on the road. Edmonton had a 2-0 lead before the six-minute mark and Tampa goalie Karri Ramo blamed himself for not being ready. "You can't make excuses," he said. "You need to be ready to play when the game starts, but we had a long traveling day and we knew that the Oilers were coming hard and maybe we were a little bit asleep there. I felt a little bit off there at the start. It was my fault, I need to take care of myself and be ready to play." Cole outhustled Marek Malik to a loose puck and then blew by him for a breakaway, picking the corner to the stick side of Ramo for his 15th of the season with 2:20 gone. The Oilers made it 2-0 three minutes later as Strudwick did a good job keeping the puck in at the blue line and rifled in a rare goal. Lightning coach Rick Tocchet hopes the way his team came back from the rough start is a sign of things to come. "We made a battle of it at the end, let in a couple of goals early that affected us, but we finally got our legs in the second and third," he said. "We were down 2-0 and you come back and make a game of it. Hopefully that goes a long way." Edmonton had 11 first-period shots while the Lightning only mustered three on Oilers starter Dwayne Roloson. The Oilers outshot the Lightning 45-29 overall. The Lightning struck in the second period on a power play as Roloson got caught up with defender Steve Staios after a big save on Martin St. Louis, allowing Murphy to deposit the puck into a wide open net. Tampa Bay tied the game later in the period as Ryan Malone stripped the puck at the Lightning blue line and sent Stamkos in on a breakaway. The rookie put the puck past Roloson for his 11th goal. Edmonton regained the lead less than a minute later when Souray unleashed a blistering shot off a faceoff. The Oilers went ahead by two goals 2:20 into the third period as a puck squirted free from under Ramo in a scramble and Cogliano stuffed it into the Lightning goal for a 4-2 lead. It was just Cogliano's second goal in the last 22 games. "It's nice to get a goal in front of the net like that because pucks start going into the back of the net after something like that," he said. "It was big for me." The Lightning narrowed it to 4-3 with just over six minutes to play as Murphy scored his second goal, picking the puck out of a frantic scramble in front of the net. Souray iced the game with his second into an empty net with 1.8 seconds left after Shawn Horcoff missed on an opportunity a minute earlier.

Notes

It was the only meeting between the two teams this season. ... Entering the contest the Oilers had lost four in a row to the Lightning, last defeating Tampa Bay on March 6, 2002. ... It was the fifth straight game the Lightning allowed more than 40 shots. ... The Lightning continued to rely on Ramo in after injuries suffered by Tampa's other goalies, Mike Smith and Olaf Kolzig. ... Tuesday's game marked the 1,500th for Oilers head medical trainer Ken Lowe. He is in his 20th season with the team.
Tagged: Oilers, Lightning

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