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The Edmonton Oilers' netminder, Jeff Deslauriers, thwarts Carolina in goalmouth action.
The Edmonton Oilers' netminder, Jeff Deslauriers, thwarts Carolina in goalmouth action.

Relief as Oilers end losing streak

The Edmonton Oilers avoided matching a franchise-record losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

The Edmonton Oilers avoided matching a franchise-record losing streak with a 4-2 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. The game was locked at 2-2 in the second period before Marc Pouliot and Sam Gagner found the net to ensure the Oilers ended a run of 13 consecutive losses, one shy of their longest stretch without a win, set in 1993.

"It's obviously a great feeling," Gagner said. "You never want to be in that situation. But it was great to have fun again. It's only one win. Hopefully it gives us some confidence." "It hasn't been easy, and it was certainly not something I expected to happen to this hockey team," said the Oilers' coach, Pat Quinn, after seeing his team win for the first time this year. "We've had some rough spots in a lot of these games and haven't held up.

"We had a couple of rough stretches again tonight but we bent and came back. We had a pretty good outing. It's something we have to keep building on." Elsewhere in the NHL, Sidney Crosby scored an eight-minute hat-trick in the second period as the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4. The feat brought the Penguins' captain level with San Jose's Patrick Marleau for the NHL scoring lead with 37 goals.

"I don't know if he's getting better, but he's taking advantage of the opportunities we gave him," the Sabres' Tim Kennedy said. "That's on us. He is one of the best players in the game, but I think that we gave him a lot." Crosby was quick to absolve the Sabres' netminder, Ryan Miller, from any blame for his goals. "We made some good plays. We had an odd-man rush, we had a good bounce off the skate and he [Miller] isn't able to get back in the net [on one goal]," said Crosby. "If you look at the goals, you can't really fault him on a lot. There were some really nice plays made there."

Mike Richards scored twice and Ray Emery made 18 saves for his third shutout of the season as the Philadelphia Flyers defeated the new-look Calgary Flames 3-0. Richards opened the scoring midway through the game and added his 22nd of the season on a power play. "We knew they were going to come out hard, and instead of wading into the game and seeing what they were going to do, we came out and initiated," Richards said.

"We played well all the way through. We played well defensively, we did a lot of good things offensively." All four players acquired by the Flames in a Sunday trade with Toronto that sent the defenceman Dion Phaneuf to the Maple Leafs were in Calgary's line-up. The centre Matt Stajan was on the top line between Jerome Iginla and Dustin Boyd. The Finnish left-winger Niklas Hagman joined countryman Olli Jokinen on a line with Jamie Lundmark.

Jamal Mayers skated on the fourth line, and the defenceman Ian White was paired with Phaneuf's former defence partner Robyn Regehr. "You try and build chemistry, and get used to tendencies of the guys you're playing with. It doesn't just happen," Stajan said. "You start to get a feel, but it wasn't there tonight. We've got to make sure we work hard at practice and really get a feel for whoever we're playing with and be better."

The Flames made more changes to their roster after Monday's game when they sent Jokinen to the New York Rangers in exchange for the forwards Chris Higgins and Ales Kotalik. * With agencies

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