EDMONTON – The Edmonton Oilers can finally put their latest losing streak behind them.
Patrick O’Sullivan scored two goals as the Oilers snapped a seven-game losing skid, defeating the Toronto Maple Leafs 3-1 on Wednesday night. “It’s tough coming to the rink every day when you’re losing games, tonight was a full 60 minute effort and we got the result we wanted,” O’Sullivan said.
“It’s a good feeling, now we don’t have to think about the fact that we’ve lost a number of games in a row. Now we can think about the things that we did well. We’re in a difficult spot right now, it’s desperation time, really, for our team. Everyone realizes that.”
Gilbert Brule had the other goal for the Oilers (16-20-4) who also snapped a seven-game slide on home ice.
“It was a long time coming,” said Oilers head coach Pat Quinn, who faced his former team for the first time since being let go by Toronto following the 2005-06 season. “We probably should have won four of those seven games we lost but we always found ways not to do it. And you could tell our guys got scared again after that one goal. But I’m glad we got this win. We needed it for a lot of reasons.”
Phil Kessel had the lone goal for the Leafs (14-18-9), who have lost four of their last five games.
“We knew they were going to be a desperate team with how things have been going for them of late,” Kessel said. “We were in that spot at the beginning of the year. They took it to us right from the start. We didn’t get many shots and didn’t play our game.
“They played harder than us tonight. We are a forechecking team, that’s how we get our chances, and we didn’t do enough of that to sustain some pressure.”
Edmonton got on the board first with just 53 seconds to play in the first period when Brule atoned for a giveaway earlier on the shift by blasting a shot past Leafs goalie Vesa Toskala.
The Oilers made it a 2-0 game on the power play midway through the second thanks to a fluke goal as O’Sullivan’s attempt to send a backhand pass through the crease caromed off of the skate of Toronto’s Ian White and into the net.
“Sometimes you get the bounces on your side and sometimes they are against you,” Toskala said. “There is not much you can do about it.”
O’Sullivan’s second goal of the game was much more legitimate than his first as he slipped past a pair of defenders at the Toronto blue-line for a power play breakaway and made a nice move to slip the puck through Toskala’s legs to make it 3-0 Edmonton.
“We earned it tonight,” said Oilers alternate captain Steve Staios. “We’ve had games where we’ve outplayed and out-chanced teams before and not got it, so it’s a good feeling.”
Toronto ended Deslauriers’ shutout bid with just four minutes left as Kessel put a power play rebound into the Edmonton net.
The Oilers play again on Thursday night in Calgary and the Maple Leafs will also suit up against the Flames in their next game on Saturday.
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Notes: It was the first of two games between the two teams this season. Last season the series was split with each team winning on the road… It was Edmonton Oilers head coach Pat Quinn’s first game against the Maple Leafs since he was fired by the club following the 2005-06 season… The injury-riddled Oilers may have two players back in the fold soon as forwards Fernando Pisani (ulcerative colitis) and Mike Comrie (mono) have both begun skating again… Oilers defenceman Ladislav Smid dressed after having X-rays to ensure he hadn’t broken any bones in his hand after a spirited punch-up with Jarome Iginla of the Calgary Flames on Monday… Leafs forwards John Mitchell (knee) and Viktor Stalberg (upper-body injury) are still estimated at being about a week away from returning to the line-up.