Oilers top Panthers for 1,000th win
EDMONTON, Alberta --Ryan Smyth and the Edmonton Oilers each reached a satisfying milestone. Smyth scored his 20th goal of the season and Edmonton snapped a four-game losing streak with the 1,000th victory in franchise history, a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night.
Fernando Pisani, Raffi Torres and Ales Hemsky also scored for the Oilers, who were the third-fastest team to reach the milestone. Edmonton did it in its 2,114th game, behind only Philadelphia (2,018) and Montreal (2,064).
"It's quite the accomplishment," said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, who was holding the game puck. "I wish I had them all."
Olli Jokinen scored for Florida.
Torres scored the game's first goal at 13:25 of the second period on a shot from the right boards that hit Ed Belfour's pad and bounced around in his equipment before ending up in the net.
Hemsky scored on the power play at 18:06 of the second, a period in which the Oilers outshot the Panthers 19-5.
"We needed this," Edmonton defenseman Marc-Andre Bergeron said. "It was a much better effort by the team defensively. When you are giving up five, six, seven goals a game, obviously that is not what you are looking for. We can't expect our team to score nine goals a game."
Pisani scored midway through the third with the teams skating four aside, and Edmonton went up 4-0 with just more than 6 minutes left when Smyth picked off a pass from Mike Van Ryn deep in Florida territory and scored on a backhander.
"We had a slow start," Van Ryn said. "Our power play has been struggling of late. We didn't really generate much offensively and we were a little loose."
Smyth has scored 20 goals in four consecutive seasons.
The Panthers ended Dwayne Roloson's shutout bid at 15:32 of the third when Jokinen scored on a power play. Roloson made 25 saves, while Belfour had 29.
"Right from the goalie out we played very efficiently and were in the right spots," MacTavish said.
Notes:@ C Petr Nedved was unable to join the Oilers in time to dress for the game. He was claimed off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers earlier Tuesday. It will be his second stint with the Oilers. He played the final 16 games of the 2003-04 season with 15 points before leaving as a free agent. ... To make room for Nedved, Edmonton assigned rookie Patrick Thoresen to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the AHL.