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A Comrie gusher for Oilers Add to ...

Mike Comrie had three assists in his return engagement to Edmonton as the Oilers remained perfect in exhibition play, defeating the Florida Panthers 4-0 on Friday night.

Taylor Chorney, Patrick O'Sullivan, Shawn Horcoff and J.F. Jacques scored for the Oilers, now 3-0 in pre-season play. Nikolai Khabibulin, making his first ever appearance in the Edmonton net, turned aside 18 shots for the shutout.

Comrie, a surprise free agent signing by the Oilers earlier this month after leaving the organization on bad terms in 2003, received a cheer mixed in with a few catcalls when his first assist was announced.

The tentative early response turned into a full-on Comrie chant in the third period, though, when he dropped the gloves in a fight against Eric Himelfarb after adding two more helpers earlier in the game, bringing his pre-season total to five points in two games.

The Panthers (2-2) were playing their fourth game in four nights.

Edmonton had the better opportunities in the scoreless first period, coming close on a couple of mad scrambles in front of Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun on a late power play and then coming within inches of a goal when Miroslav Lazo had a shot at an open net carom off the post.

Edmonton out-shot the Panthers 10-4 with Florida not getting its first shot on Khabibulin until 12 minutes into the opening frame.

The highlight of the first was a thundering hit by Edmonton's Jacques on Christian Backman, leading to a fight against Adam Keefe.

The Oilers broke the deadlock five minutes into the second period as a pair of rookies got into the action when Ryan Stone feathered a pass to a pinching Chorney who beat Vokoun with a hard shot to the glove side for a 1-0 Edmonton lead.

Stone picked up a second assist less than three minutes later when Comrie sent a soft shot on the Panthers' net that O'Sullivan was able to tip en route for his third in exhibition play and a 2-0 Oilers lead.

Comrie was also instrumental in the Oilers' third goal. With five minutes to play and the Panthers short two men with Brian McCabe off and Jordan Leopold serving a five-minute major for cross-checking Gilbert Brule from behind, the 29-year-old Edmonton native fed a perfect pass to Horcoff, who had an easy tap-in for his second of the pre-season.

Edmonton made it 4-0 on the same extended power play as O'Sullivan spotted Jacques streaking towards the net and he hammered home the puck.

There was no scoring in the third period.

The Oilers travel to Vancouver to play the Canucks on Saturday. The Panthers finally get a day off before playing in Calgary on Sunday.

Notes: Edmonton fans got their first look at Khabibulin in the contest. The veteran netminder signed as a free agent in July, replacing outgoing goalie Dwayne Roloson as the starter. . . Oilers defenceman Lubomir Visnovsky has finally been cleared by medical staff to play and may suit up in one of Edmonton's exhibition games on the weekend. Visnovsky suffered a season-ending shoulder injury in early February. . . The Panthers were playing their fourth game in four nights on a five-game Canadian road trip. Florida only plays one exhibition game on home ice. . . In the lineup for Florida was defenceman Martin Skoula, with the Panthers on a tryout basis. Despite only missing 15 games in his nine seasons in the NHL, Skoula has found himself fighting for a job this off-season.

 

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