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Oilers Beat Senators, End 3-Game Skid

Tony Hrkac is proving the Dallas Stars aren't doing everything right this season.

Waived by league-leading Dallas in January, Hrkac is off to a fast start with Edmonton. In 25 games with the Oilers, Hrkac has 17 points, including two goals in a 5-2 victory over Ottawa on Wednesday night.

"A couple of big goals, I guess, but it's nice to see the team play well and come out of the chute as fast as we did," Hrkac said.

Hrkac, who won the 1987 Hobey Baker Award as the outstanding college hockey player while at North Dakota, has made his mark with the Oilers in yet another comeback. After NHL stops in St. Louis, San Jose, Quebec and Chicago, Hrkac spent the next three seasons toiling in the minors before getting a shot with Edmonton - one of the youngest teams in the league.

"I just wanted to get back in the league. It's been a while," said Hrkac, who scored one of the Oilers' three power-play goals against the Senators. "It was tough getting back and I just want to stay here and play the best I can."

Hrkac's efforts haven't gone unnoticed by his teammates, most of whom were developing their skills as teen-agers when Hrkac broke into the league.

"Tony came in and did a great job early in his stint and to start with a couple more after the Olympic break, he's been a great addition," said U.S. Olympian Doug Weight, who had a goal and an assist. "It's obvious how much he's helped our team."

Another Oilers player making a quick impression is defenseman Roman Hamrlik, a member of the gold medal-winning Czech Republic team in Nagano. He anchored Edmonton's defense with Russian partner Boris Mironov despite only arriving Tuesday following celebrations in his homeland.

Hamrlik also had a goal and an assist as the Oilers ended a three-game losing streak with their sixth consecutive victory over the Senators.

"He played really well after the travel he went through yesterday," Edmonton coach Ron Low said.

"I still expected him to handle the puck well, but he played great defensively besides. He told me this morning he felt great. I guess that gold thing around his neck makes you feel pretty good."

Bill Guerin had the Oilers' other goal on their third two-man advantage of the game. Bob Essensa, making only his eighth start of the season, stopped 34 shots.

The Senators, who got goals from Andreas Dackell and Alexei Yashin, were 0-for-9 on the power play. Ottawa goalie Ron Tugnutt faced 26 shots, the majority coming when his team was down a man for eight Edmonton power plays.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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