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Sykora's late goal lifts Oilers past Red Wings

Oct 22, 2006 - 4:44 AM EDMONTON, Alberta (Ticker) -- Petr Sykora's first season with the Edmonton Oilers is off to a flying start.

Sykora scored the decisive goal late in the third period and fellow newcomer Joffrey Lupul added the clincher as the Oilers skated to a 3-1 triumph over the Detroit Red Wings.

Signed to a one-year contract in August, Sykora has blossomed thus far in the Oilers' system that features speed and rewards intelligent play. He has five goals - including three game-winners - and four assists in his first seven games with Edmonton, posting a plus-4 rating.

Sykora snapped a 1-1 tie with 6:21 remaining when he took a crisp outlet pass from rookie defenseman Ladislav Smid and skated in on a breakaway. The two-time 30-goal scorer gave a slight shoulder fake to Dominik Hasek before beating the six-time Vezina Trophy winner with a snap shot inside the left goalpost.

"It was a great pass from Laddie," Sykora said. "It was a bit of a broken play. I was coming late from their zone because I got caught behind, which isn't good late in the third, but it worked out pretty well."

"We got opportunistic," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "It was a really great pass by Smid to Petr, and Petr doesn't make too many mistakes when he gets in that spot."

Lupul, acquired in the trade that sent star defenseman Chris Pronger to Anaheim in the offseason, added a breakaway tally of his own with 4:11 to play to seal the victory. He took an outlet pass from defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist and slipped a forehand underneath a sliding Hasek.

"I was fresh because I just got out there," Lupul said. "I saw Tjarnqvist was going to flip it. I don't know if he saw me or not, but he made a good play just getting it out there in the open. I was able to get the jump on their D, get the breakaway and then bury it."

Dwayne Roloson made 26 saves and blue-liner Steve Staios also scored for the Oilers, who won for the fourth time in five games.

However, Edmonton went 0-for-5 with the man advantage, dropping the team to 6-for-43 with the extra skater this season.

"We're 5-2 and that's good," Lupul said. "But with the personnel that we have out there, we've got to be better on the power play and I suspect we will be."

The Red Wings lost their third straight contest despite a highlight-reel goal from Pavel Datsyuk midway through the third period and 21 stops by Hasek.

"(The frustration level is) high and yet the one thing about frustration is that it does you absolutely no good," said Red Wings coach Mike Babcock, whose team has scored only one goal in three straight games. "We have to find a way to dig in and stick together, solve our problems and get back to work."






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