EDMONTON, Alberta (AP)—Maybe Jason Smith should call more player meetings.
The Edmonton Oilers captain tried to take some pressure off his teammates despite the battle for a playoff spot in the Western Conference. Smith held a player meeting at Monday’s morning skate two days after a 4-1 home loss to Northwest Division-leading Calgary.
“We have been inconsistent in some of the games and it has cost us,” said Smith, who had a simple message for his teammates: “Keep relaxed, be positive.”
The Oilers remained three points ahead of ninth-place San Jose in the West.
Marc-Andre Bergeron had a goal and two assists, with Radek Dvorak, Marc-Antoine Pouliot and Shawn Horcoff also scoring for Edmonton. The Oilers ended a four-game homestand 2-2 in advance of a four-game road trip as Ryan Smyth and Samsonov finished with two assists.
“We needed to relax,” said Peca, who scored his first goal since March 11. “It showed in our play.”
Dwayne Roloson made 33 saves for his sixth win in his 14th straight start with Edmonton since coming over at the trade deadline.
“We have been tight with our sticks,” said Roloson. “Tonight we played like we know we can.”
Mike Comrie scored for Phoenix, which had won four straight road games, and six of its last seven, but is far back in the playoff chase.
Coyotes coach Wayne Gretzky arrived just before the game. He left the team following Saturday’s 4-3 win in San Jose to be with his wife’s ailing brother-in-law, 47, who is ill with an unspecified condition.
The Oilers began a four-game stretch against team’s out of the playoff picture, continuing Thursday in Minnesota, Friday in Chicago and Sunday in St. Louis.
Moreau (Jan. 26), Bergeron (Feb. 6) and Peca each ended scoring droughts before Samsonov wristed in the Oilers’ second power-play goal to chase Coyotes starting goalie Curtis Joseph.
“We didn’t have our sharpness tonight,” said Joseph. “I didn’t have my `A’ game.”
The Oilers scored twice in a 26-second span of the first period. Pouliot followed up on fellow rookie Brad Winchester’s shot for his first NHL goal in his third game. Horcoff then sent a backhander past Joseph.
Comrie, who played in Edmonton from 2001-03, was booed lustily after wristing a high shot over Roloson for his second career goal against his former team to cut the Oilers lead to 2-1.