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Shawn Horcoff has goal and assist as Oilers slip past Blackhawks 2-1

The Canadian Press
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The Hockey News
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Shawn Horcoff has goal and assist as Oilers slip past Blackhawks 2-1

The Canadian Press
By:

Roloson stopped 32 shots to lead the Oilers to a 2-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday night.

The win was the fourth in six games for Edmonton (27-24-4), which moved ahead of idle Colorado into ninth spot in the Western Conference, six points out of a playoff spot.

"We've been talking about trying to have fun again," Roloson said. "Making the plays instead of worrying about making mistakes.

"We played with a lot of emotion tonight. That's what we have to do to win hockey games."

Shawn Horcoff had a goal and an assist for the Oilers. Raffi Torres scored the other goal.

Martin Havlat had the lone goal for Chicago (21-27-7), which lost for the first time in three games. The Blackhawks had won four of their last five games after losing 10 straight.

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish was content with his team's effort.

"We played a smart game and did what we had to," he said. "We managed the puck well and I thought we played a complete game.

"We played well on defence. Roloson didn't have to make too many five star saves. Hopefully this is something we can build off of."

Despite the loss, the Blackhawks were relatively happy with their overall performance.

"We played a pretty good game," said Havlat. "Especially in the first period.

"I feel we were the better team in that part of the game. We were all over them. They had one good shot and scored one goal. We just left it too late to come back, But I thought we played pretty well."

Defenceman Brent Seabrook agreed.

"I think we battled hard and played hard and got a lot of pucks at the net," he said. "We just have to capitalize on our opportunities when we get the chances."

The Oilers opened the scoring just 4:29 into the first period as Marc-Andre Bergeron made a cross-ice pass to Torres, who blasted a shot past Chicago starter Nikolai Khabibulin from the top of the circle.

Roloson had a solid first, stopping 14 Chicago shots.

Chicago had the better chances in the listless second but couldn't put one of their 11 shots past Roloson. The game ground down to such a standstill that a portion of the sold-out crowd of 16,839 started chanting "Let's go anybody."

Edmonton went ahead 2-0 at 3:04 of the third, converting their first power-play opportunity.

Horcoff had an open net to shoot at but lost control of the puck. It went through the crease to Ryan Smyth, who batted it towards the net. Horcoff deflected the shot for the goal.

Havlat broke Roloson's shutout bid with 32 seconds left, scoring on a power play with Khabibulin on the bench for an extra skater.

"That was a little unfortunate," said MacTavish. "When you have a shutout and give it up with 30 seconds to go, you don't like to see that.

"But at this stage we aren't going to turn our noses up at the two points."

The Blackhawks play the sixth game of their lengthy seven-game road trip Sunday in Columbus. Edmonton concludes its three-game homestand Sunday against Atlanta.

NOTES: The Oilers and Hawks split their previous two meetings this season. Edmonton won the first meeting at home 5-1 in November but fell 4-1 in Chicago in December. . . . Going into Friday's match the Blackhawks were 15-14-3 and averaged three goals a game (95 goals total) with Havlat in the lineup. With out, Chicago averaged 1.8 goals a game (40 goals total) and had a record of 6-12-4. . . . Patrick Lalime backed up Khabibulin in the Chicago net. Lalime earned the shutout in a 3-0 victory over Vancouver on Wednesday, his first NHL start this season after undergoing back surgery in September . . . Khabibulin has yet to record a shutout for the Hawks in 91 games.

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Shawn Horcoff has goal and assist as Oilers slip past Blackhawks 2-1