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PRINCIPE: Xcel-ent Game

by Gene Principe / Edmonton Oilers
Ben Scrivens (photo by Andy Devlin)

It makes sense that heading into Tuesday night's game between Edmonton and Minnesota the goalie who was being talked about was Devan Dubnyk. In fact, the entire league has been talking about Dubnyk. Since he was acquired from Arizona for a third round pick, the former Oiler has spurred the Wild to an improbable run with nasty numbers in net. However, the run slammed head-first into a wall and a goalie who made like a bunch of bricks set up in front of his cage. The proverbial 'brick wall', which meant coming out of the Oilers-Wild contest it was the other netminder who was garnering the attention.

Ben Scrivens put on a display of distinguished work between the pipes to out-perform Dubnyk. It was not an easy night's work because the Wild were desperate to keep their 11-1-1 post all-star  record trending up and not down. Ben Scrivens would have none of it. Thomas Vanek and only Thomas Vanek was able to beat Ben. Other that that, it was a blank stare and scoreboard by Minnesota. With the possibility of a little more comfort in the playoff race, Edmonton's netminder denied the home team the satisfaction of that feeling. Instead, it was the Oilers who departed Minnesota with their first win of the season against their former division rival.

It was in line with one of Scrivens' best performances of the season. There was a window between October 20-27 when the Spruce Grovian won four straight and made 110 saves on 117 shots. In an overtime loss against Arizona, 42 saves on 44 shots. 37 saves on 39 shots against LA. Maybe his best night of all was the 38 saves he made on 41 shots in regulation and OT against Boston before adding 12 straight stops in the shootout(50 saves on 53 shots). This, like the one against the Bruins, meant even a little extra because of the time of year and the importance of the two points to the opposing team's post season hopes.

Every Oiler interviewed on Sportsnet during the game and afterwards sung the praises of their puck stopper. From Benoit Pouliot after the first period, to Matt Hendricks after 2 and then in the post game it was Jordan Eberle and Oscar Klefbom. Unsolicited words about how their netminder helped steal a win. It might be the greatest compliment a goaltender can get when the other team feels like they were robbed of a victory because of a singular individual. It was a night where the first star, as chosen by Sportsnet's Drew Remenda, was an easy one to select. Benoit Pouliot was a strong second selection but it was hard, and would have been unfair, not to go with anyone but Ben.

The 59-save shutout in a 3-0 win vs. SJ last season is a night Scrivens might not ever be able to replicate. There's no shame in that. It was a once-in-a-lifetime evening. However, Ben Scrivens has stepped up with the injury to Viktor Fasth. The locally-born netminder has shown the ability to paralyze the other team's offence. The looks on the faces of the Wild explained what they were going through. Edmonton was better through one period, the Wild better through the next two but nobody was better then Ben Scrivens. He was the goalie who wasn't about to let Minnesota run wild thanks an 'Xcel'lent game.

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