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Oilers, Salo stop Leafs

Saturday, 28.12.2002 / 12:00 AM / News
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Oilers, Salo stop Leafs
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EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- What could have been a disaster for the Edmonton Oilers instead became jubilation.

Todd Marchant scored with 24.1 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Oilers a 3-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs and snap their five-game losing streak.

After Toronto failed to convert an odd-man rush, the Oilers broke the other way on a 3-on-1. Marchant slid a cross-ice pass to Anson Carter, who was stopped by goaltender Ed Belfour with a left pad save.

Standing alone on the right side of the crease, Marchant initially was thwarted by Belfour before slipping his own rebound between the goalie's pads for his sixth goal of the season and second in three games.

"Jason (Smith) gave me the puck and Anson had to hold up at the blue line," Marchant explained. "He was on his off wing, so I figured I could slide it across and he'd get a good one-timer. I made just a terrible pass, put it right in his skates, but he was able to get a shot on net out of it and I just went looking for a rebound."

"Our guys got back, but they didn't do any work, they just came back to take a swing," Toronto coach Pat Quinn said. "It's disappointing because we're back to the things we were doing earlier in the year. Everyone wants to hit the home run and be the sultan of swat, but what wins in this league is doing the little things right."

Georges Laraque and Marty Reasoner also tallied for Edmonton, which was mired in its longest skid since March 1999.

"We showed a lot of character by battling back after we got down by a goal in the third," Oilers defenseman Steve Staios said.

"That's the way the season goes. There's always ups and downs and when things aren't going well, you have to battle even harder. We feel like we're back on track now. This was perfect timing for us."

Defenseman Karel Pilar and Travis Green scored for the Maple Leafs, who played without captain and leading scorer Mats Sundin and had a five-game unbeaten streak stopped.

"The one reason we didn't win tonight is that we got drawn into the kind of game they wanted to play," Maple Leafs center Alyn McCauley said. "If we had kept it simple, we probably would have come out of here with two points."

Belfour made 33 saves and stopped Mike Comrie's penalty shot midway through the first period.

In Craig MacTavish's 200th game behind the bench for Edmonton, Laraque gave the Oilers the lead at 7:23 of the second period.

After deking past defenseman Aki Berg in the Toronto zone, Laraque lost control of the puck. Belfour came out of his net to chase it down, but Laraque beat him to it and slid the puck around the sprawled goalie for his third goal of the season.

The Maple Leafs, who were 3-0-2-0 in their previous five games, drew even at 12:46 with a power-play tally. Jonas Hoglund corraled the rebound of Robert Reichel's shot and slid a pass toward the right point. Pilar dropped to the top of the right faceoff circle and blasted a slap shot past a fallen Tommy Salo to knot the game at 1-1.

Green netted his fourth goal at 6:08 of the third, punching in the rebound of McCauley's shot from the left side to put Toronto ahead. But Reasoner's wrister from the top of the right circle hit the blade of defenseman Bryan McCabe's stick and deflected over Belfour's right shoulder at 14:03 to pull Edmonton even.

"I think it's something everyone stresses when things aren't going well, to just get the puck to the net and maybe you get a bounce," Reasoner said. "I obviously wasn't trying to score with that shot. I saw Shawn (Horcoff) had a step on the defenseman and I was looking for him. But it hit McCabe's stick and caught the top corner."

Salo kept the Oilers' hopes alive, stopping Alexander Mogilny from alone in front with 3:47 remaining in regulation.

Comrie had a golden opportunity to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead at 8:03 of the first period. After being pulled down from behind by defenseman Jyrki Lumme, the 5-9 center was awarded a penalty shot. But Belfour was up to the task, stopping Comrie's attempt to find room between the pads with a right pad save.

"We didn't have any bad calls against us, no video replays, but the one big obstacle tonight was Belfour," MacTavish said. "He was outstanding and got them a point and an opportunity to do better than that."
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