Mon, May 29, 2006 - Page 20 News List

Oilers advance on stellar defense

AP , ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA

Edmonton Oilers captain Jason Smith poses with the Clarence S. Campbell Cup following the Oilers' win over the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals at Arrowhead Pond in Anaheim, California, Saturday. The Oilers beat the Ducks 2-1 to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals.

PHOTO: EPA

Raffi Torres scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection in the second period, helping Edmonton eliminate the Anaheim Mighty Ducks 2-1 Saturday and advance to the Stanley Cup finals.

The eighth-seeded Oilers won the Western Conference finals 4-1 and will play for the Cup for the first time since winning it in 1990.

``This team is similar to our 1990 team because this is so unexpected and we have good goal scoring,'' said Oilers coach Craig MacTavish, who played on that squad. ``Our goaltending was terrific the whole series. Our special teams were outstanding. This is the third series we have won that battle.''

Edmonton awaits either Carolina or Buffalo, whose Eastern Conference finals series is tied 2-2. The Oilers are the lowest-seeded team to ever reach the finals.

``It's awesome as a team,'' goalie Dwayne Roloson said. ``We came from the eighth spot, but it doesn't mean anything now.''

The Ducks outshot the Oilers in all five games of the series, including a 33-25 advantage Saturday. But Anaheim returned to the offensive slump it was in the first two games, when the Ducks scored a combined two goals.

Roloson stopped 32 shots and earned his NHL-leading 12th postseason victory for Edmonton, which won the first three games of the series before losing at home Thursday night.

Jean-Sebastien Giguere was in goal for his second straight game after being benched since the opening round against Calgary, but he couldn't spark the sixth-seeded Ducks again.

The Oilers killed off all but one of their 11 penalties. Anaheim's Niedermayer brothers, Rob and Scott, both narrowly missed tying the game on power-play attempts in the third.

The Ducks pulled Giguere for an extra attacker with about 3 minutes remaining, but Roloson withstood the flurry of traffic around the net.

Edmonton rallied from a one-goal deficit and scored twice in the second period.

A slap shot by Marc-Andre Bergeron deflected off Torres' stick as he fought off a Ducks defender at 8:31, giving Edmonton a 2-1 lead.

The Oilers tied it on a wraparound goal by Ethan Moreau at 3:42. Giguere blocked Moreau's initial shot with his stick, but Moreau got another chance and sent the puck through a narrow opening between Giguere and the post.

Anaheim had its towel-waving fans on their feet with a power-play goal at 7:30 of the first. Francois Beauchemin's slap shot from the blue line sailed into the top of the net after Jaroslav Spacek was sent off for hooking.

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