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Oilers Slip Past Thrashers


The homecoming for Kelly Buchberger was spoiled by the home team.

Doug Weight and his Oilers teammates ruined Buchberger's return to Edmonton on Friday night, beating the expansion Atlanta Thrashers 5-4.

Weight, linemate Bill Guerin, Boyd Devereaux, Joseph Beranek and Todd Marchant each scored once. Tommy Salo made 25 saves.

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  • Maxim Galanov with two goals, Mike Stapleton and Andrew Brunette replied for Atlanta, and Scott Langkow stopped 20 shots.

    Galanov opened the scoring in the first period with his second and third goals of the season, the second time in as many games the Oilers fell behind early by two goals.

    Guerin said he and his teammates may have underestimated the 12-42-6 newcomers in their first-ever matchup.

    "I don't think we were ready to play," Guerin said. "I don't think we respected our opponents as much as we should have."

    "It's not the way you really want to do things, but we battled back and a win is a win."

    Oilers coach Kevin Lowe said his team has to find a better way to start games than falling behind 2-0 early on, as it also did with Boston on Wednesday.

    "But I'd rather be down 2-0 and win the game than be up 2-0 and lose the game," Lowe said.

    Beranek scored midway through the period and Weight tied the game at 18:47.

    Buchberger, the 34-year-old Atlanta captain, was drafted by the Oilers in 1985 and played for Edmonton until taken by the Thrashers in the 1999 expansion draft.

    Always an Edmonton crowd favorite, Buchberger loved hearing the cheers again in an otherwise dsappointing season.

    "It was great! After so many years being here, it was a very emotional time coming out there," he said. "It was a touching moment."

    Guerin gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead at 5:45 of the second, but Stapleton tied it, with an assist going to Buchberger, the former Oilers captain.

    Marchant broke the tie 37 seconds into the third period and Devereaux gave the Oilers a two-goal lead at 2:41.

    Brunette cut the deficit to one, but Salo held the Thrashers the rest of the game.

    The Oilers take a three-game winning streak on the road to Anaheim and Colorado.

    "We're some points ahead of those teams and if we can play a good controlled, well-thought-out game, there's less pressure on us to have to win them," Lowe said.

    "It will be a nice change to be in that situation at this time of year."

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