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Roloson, Hemsky keep Oilers rolling

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson made 31 saves -- and one exceptional pass.

Roloson stymied Anaheim's offense, and chipped in with an assist last night as the Oilers opened the Western Conference finals with a 3-1 victory over the Mighty Ducks.

After Roloson's clearing pass led to Michael Peca's goal in the first period, Ales Hemsky scored the go-ahead goal in the second. Todd Harvey added an empty-netter in the closing seconds.

With top defenseman Chris Pronger off for elbowing, Roloson set up the Oilers' shorthanded goal with a backhanded clearing pass, lofting the puck high and far down the ice. Peca broke behind the Ducks, picked up the puck and went 1-on-1 with Ilya Bryzgalov, beating him with a backhander underneath the rookie goalie's right leg.

Asked about his perfect ''fastbreak lob," Roloson said with a grin, ''I used to do that in college all the time. Fortunately, Michael got the jump on some of their guys."

Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle said the play was not a fluke.

''Their goaltender is strong on his backhand, and we didn't read the situation properly where we allowed Peca to get in behind us," Carlyle said.

''I guess it caught us by surprise."

The 36-year-old Roloson, a former UMass-Lowell standout who has resurrected his career since Edmonton acquired him from Minnesota in March, was with the Wild when they lost to Anaheim in the 2003 playoffs.

In the opener this time, Roloson was especially effective at smothering the puck when the Ducks had traffic in front.

Edmonton, which had just one day off between the end of its series against San Jose and the beginning of the best-of-seven conference finals against Anaheim, still matched the Ducks in energy, speed and checking. All that added up to the Oilers' fifth straight victory.

Anaheim hadn't played since completing a sweep of Colorado May 11.

The win was the Oilers' first in a series opener in the postseason.

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