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Brodziak's two goals lead Oilers to 5-4 exhibition win over Panthers

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Brodziak's two goals lead Oilers to 5-4 exhibition win over Panthers

The Canadian Press
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Brodziak scored two goals and assisted on the game winner as the Oilers won their first pre-season game Monday, 5-4 over the Florida Panthers. Brodziak has likely increased his odds of cracking the lineup after scoring two goals in less than three minutes early in the first period.

The St. Paul, Alta., native scored his first goal on a power play after banking a shot from the side of the net off of Panther netminder Tomas Vokoun. He added a second a couple minutes later, fighting off a Florida defender and burying a shot top shelf.

Brodziak assisted on the winner as he stole a puck behind the Panthers net while short-handed and found a wide open Tim Sestito for Edmonton's fifth goal.

Sam Gagner, Edmonton's first round pick, sixth overall, at this summer's NHL Entry Draft, also scored.

Michael Frolik, Brett McLean, Greg Campbell and Rob Globke replied for Florida.

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish was impressed with what he saw in Brodziak, who had 56 points in 62 games for Wilkes-Barre of the American Hockey League last season.

"That's as close as you can get to a perfect game," MacTavish said. "He wasn't in a wrong position all night. He made great plays with the puck, had two goals, a beautiful short-handed assist, a big block at the end, there was nothing he didn't do tonight."

Brodziak was thrilled to be able to make such a solid impression in game one.

"Coming into the game you obviously don't expect to be able to score two goals in the first 10 minutes," he said. "That felt really good and calmed the nerves a little bit. I think I have been getting better every time I have been out on the ice and that's your goal as a hockey player."

The 23-year-old centre knows that this is his year to shine as there could be several holes to fill on the Oilers roster.

"The last couple years it has been tough looking at the lineup and knowing there wasn't a whole lot of room there," said Brodziak, "This year there are realistically a couple spots up for grabs and I'm going to give it my all to be in the picture for one of them."

MacTavish says he was impressed with the entire line of Brodziak, Ethan Moreau, who scored the first goal of the game 42 seconds in, and Marty Reasoner, who recorded three assists.

"That whole line right from the outset, they set the tone," said the coach.

"They work very well together. They were three for three on their first three shifts for three goals. It was a good performance by all three of them.

Both teams return to the ice on Tuesday, with the Oilers playing host to Toronto and the Panthers travelling to Saskatoon to play the Calgary Flames.

Notes: It was the second pre-season tilt for the Panthers, who defeated the Flames 3-0 on Sunday night. . . . Off-season free agent acquisition Richard Zednik, who crashed heavily into the end boards against the Flames, skated Monday and will likely play Thursday in Chicago. Centre David Brine, who sprained his thumb in the contest, headed back to South Florida to be evaluated.

. . . Prior to starting the exhibition schedule the Oilers assigned 10 players to the Springfield Falcons of the American Hockey League, returned three players to their respective junior teams and one player to Europe.

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Brodziak's two goals lead Oilers to 5-4 exhibition win over Panthers