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Khabibulin sharp as Edmonton Oilers tame Florida Panthers

EDMONTON (Reuters) - The Edmonton Oilers scored three quick goals in the second period, and got another sharp outing from goalie Nikolai Khabibulin, to beat the Florida Panthers 3-2 on Sunday.

Khabibulin, who turned aside 37 shots for a shutout in his team's first game, made 26 saves as the Oilers improved to 2-0 to start the season.

After an 11-month layoff due to back surgery, the 37-year-old Khabibulin is showing no signs of rust.

"I felt pretty good," Khabibulin told reporters.

"I felt better today to start the game than the last game. Again, the few shots I didn't see, guys were able to block, and that's a huge help."

Following a scoreless first period, Edmonton took a 2-0 lead early in the second through Dustin Penner and Ryan Jones.

Marty Reasoner pulled one back for Florida at 6:11 before Shawn Horcoff restored the Oilers' two-goal advantage just over a minute later.

Reasoner scored his second of the game with two minutes remaining in the period to make it 3-2 but the Panthers could get no closer.

Florida, the last NHL team to play their first game of the season, were aggressive from the outset and out-shot the Oilers 28-13 for the game.

Edmonton's Taylor Hall, the first overall pick in the draft, recorded his first NHL point when he assisted on the eventual game-winning goal by Horcoff.

"It's nice to get a point," Hall said. "You know you're contributing somehow. That's not the prettiest point, but I'll take it. Hopefully it'll give me a little bit of confidence for the next game."

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)