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Ron Low


C - Doug Weight Todd Marchant, Rem Murray, Josef Beranek, Dan Lacroix, Chris Ferraro. LW - Dean McAmmond, Alex Selivanov, Mats Lindgren, Ryan Smyth. RW - Bill Guerin, Mike Grier, Pat Falloon, Georges Laraque. D - Sean Brown, Roman Hamrlik, Boris Mironov, Frank Musil, Janne Niinimaa, Tom Poti, Marty McSorley. G - Bob Essensa, Mikhail Shtalenkov, Steve Passmore.


Kelly Buchberger, rw (fractured arm, should be another week).


2/22 - assigned Boyd Devereaux, c, and Todd Rierden, d, to the Hamilton (AHL) and recalled Chris Ferraro, c, and Steve Passmore, g.


2/24 Anaheim        L 2-1
2/26 Buffalo        W 6-2
2/27 Carolina       T 2-2
3/01 at Colorado    W 4-3
3/03 at Buffalo     W 5-3
3/05 at Pittsburgh  T 2-2
3/06 at Washington  L 4-3


Northwest Division  GP   W   L   T   PTS   GF   GA  
  Colorado          64  32  24   8    72  177  159  
  Edmonton          64  25  29  10    60  178  168  
  Calgary           63  23  30  10    56  165  178  
  Vancouver         64  19  35  10    48  154  200


by Aubrey Chau, Edmonton Correspondent

The Oilers finished February and began March like a lion with a five-game unbeaten streak under their belt. What was going right for the woeful Oilers, who have been struggling so much the past couple months?

Well, for starters, they've started scoring. You need to score to start winning games, and that's precisely what they've been doing. Also, their power play has been clicking of late and has produced consistently during their unbeaten streak.

So why is the power play working? Well, coach Ron Low, was frustrated with the fact that the Oilers had about as much a chance of scoring on the power play as Steve Urkel does with Pam Anderson. So he moved Doug Weight off the boards onto the point of the power play, where he was able to distribute the puck better off the point.

Then he moved Rem the Gem Murray to center on the first power-play unit, where he was able to create some traffic in front of the net.

But the biggest thing the Low did was tell Boris Mironov to shoot the puck more often, and try to hit the stupid net. Boris, of course, complied and that resulted in a nice five-goals-in-four-game scoring streak for Bob. That resulted in some nice points for the Oilers to keep them in the Western Conference playoff race.

Of course two of the games during the Oilers unbeaten streak were against a Dominik Hasek-less Buffalo Sabres team. Both times, the Sabres started Dwayne Roloson, and both times they had to yank him in favour of Martin Biron.

The Oilers can thank their lucky stars that they didn't have to face the Dominator this season, or else the Oilers could have walked home with a big frown, and no points.

But their unbeaten streak wasn't all against teams with missing pieces. The Oil had the misfortune of facing the Colorado Avalanche and their newest member, Theo Fleury. Everyone could have counted the Oil down and out with the Avs riding the adrenaline from their latest acquisition, that sparkplug Fleury.

But luckily, the Avs started out of the gates slow, and fell flat on their face, giving the Oilers a lofty 4-0 lead.

But hold on, this is a team that boasts a power-play unit featuring Peter Forsberg, Joe Sakic, Valeri Kamensky, Sandis Ozolinsh, and now Theo Fleury. The Avs came dangerously close to nipping the Oilers in the bud as the Avs stormed back quickly (almost at will) with three goals.

Luckily, the Oilers were able to hold the Avs at bay long enough to collect two points, then paint the town red after the game.

But not all games finished with a happy ending. The Oilers' unbeaten streak ended Saturday in Washington, as the Capitals came back after a 2-0 deficit and beat the Oil 4-3. The team was obviously shaken after reading Monica's book and seeing her special with Barbara Walters, how could they play hockey after all the evil things Bill and Ken Starr did to her?

That, and the Oilers were an extremely fatigued team. That was their seventh game in 11 nights, and that Zippergate scandal didn't help them cope any better.

The Oilers had a 2-0 lead on the Caps halfway through the second period. When two things happened: 1) Oilers fatigue set in and 2) Adam Oates. Oates brought his team back from the dead, and led the Caps to four unanswered goals, leaving the Oil high and dry.

Other Stuff:


So it looks like the Oilers goaltending situation has stabilized a little bit, for now. The Oilers called up farmhand Steve Passmore, who has played solidly for the Oilers.

Right now he's sitting with a 1-2-1 record. Neither of the two losses can be blamed on Passmore, it was more the team's inability to score, or play well enough in front of him. Passmore's play has been more than adequate.

The only question right now is where does Mikail Shtalenkov fit into the puzzle now? Nobody likes being a third wheel, and that is precisely what Shtalenkov is right now. Word is he could be traded to the Phoenix Coyotes, or the Buffalo Sabres, or even sent down to the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL.

Shtalenkov has been less than stellar for the latter part of the season, and seems unable to carry a large game load. Maybe all those years as a backup hasn't prepared him to handle 50 games a season.

Bob Essensa has been sharing the time with Passmore, as they are now alternating games. Like Batman and Robin, Essensa and Passmore make a good tandem. Essensa, the quiet seasoned veteran, while Passmore is the young, excitable rookie.


Yes he is, and that's what he did.

So the Buffalo Sabres were visiting the Oilers at the Skyreach Centre in Edmonton last week, the game proceeds as usual.

Up-and-coming Oiler bodyguard Georges Laraque asked seasoned goon Rob Ray if he wanted to dance. Much to Laraque (the Rock)'s dismay, Ray turned him down. Then later in the game, Ray decided he tangle with someone not his own size, as he started picking on Oilers stars Doug Weight and Billy the Butcher Guerin.

This infuriated the Oilers to no end, especially Georges Laraque. After the game, Laraque said Ray would get what's coming to him. Ray responded that by musing, "What's he going to do? Beat me up?"

So next week rolls by, and the Oilers and Sabres meet again. First chance he gets, the Rock goes after Ray. And man, Laraque beat Ray like a rented mule. Laraque pummeled Ray into next week. Ray didn't even get a shot in, and when the Rock was finished, Ray had to be helped off the ice.

The 245-pound Laraque set a precedent for the Oilers and the rest of the NHL, and that was, don't screw with our good players. The fight, without a doubt must have made highlight reels around the league, because Laraque thrashed Ray. Probably one of the most severe beatings in recent memory.


The Oilers' third goal against Washington the other night was a big time fluke, it went off Alex Selivanov's head.

The recently acquired Russian, with the exception of a few games, has been next to useless for the Oilers. But it was nice to see him get another goal, his sixth as an Oiler, even if it did go off his noggin. He'll take what he can get.


It's been fairly quite on the rumour front lately. The Oilers in the most talks have been Boris Mironov and Mikail Shtalenkov. Mironov's rumoured destinations include Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit and Buffalo. No real word on what the Oilers would get in return, but some say Philly would have to give up Rod Brind'amour. Not bloody likely though.

Shtalenkov's could be going to the Phoenix Coyotes. Fellow Russian goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin's injured, and the cavalry, Jimmy Waite, has been pretty bad. Apparently the Oil are looking for either Shane Doan or Brad Isbister in return for Shtalenkov.

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