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Under the Scope: Oilers host Avs

by Kristi Hennessy / Edmonton Oilers
THE TURNING POINT


The turning point in the game all started with Wilson laying out Ethan Moreau at the midway point of the second period. Stortini immediately skated right over to Wilson, instigating a fight. He got two minutes for instigating, a five minute fighting major and a 10 minute game misconduct. The Oilers would then see a long penalty. Souray went to the box a minute or so later for roughing and just over a minute after that, O'Sullivan took a seat for tripping.

With the Avs pushing to post yet another goal, the Oilers successfully cleared the box and kept the Avs where they were. If the Avs were to have scored on any of the five-on-three power plays, that could have put the Oilers away. With Gagner adding a late goal with 15 seconds to go in the second, the Oilers came back in the third and continued where they left off, tying the game less than three minutes into the third.



TOP PERFORMERS

OILERS - Gilbert Brule got back on the score board against the Avs by scoring 21 seconds into the second period tying the game 2-2.  Brule later picked up his second point of the game by assisting on Patrick O'Sullivan's goal in the third period. Brule snatches the third star of the game.

Sam Gagner earned himself a goal and an assist tonight. His goal came at a crucial time in the game to get the Oilers within a goal going into the third period. He scored with 15 seconds to go in the second after the power play had expired. He also picked up an assist on the game-tying goal by O'Sullivan 2:45 into the final frame.

AVS- There's nothing strange about Milan Hejduk lighting it up in Edmonton. Hejduk netted the first two goals for the Avs and seemed to be connecting very well with linemate Matt Duchene. Hejduk likes to hover around the net and wait for the right opportunity to rip one past Oilers goaltenders. Hejduk has played in 63 games against the Oilers with an impressive 26 goals and 27 assists for 53 points.

SAVE OF THE GAME

There really was no specific save that stood out on either end of the ice although if we were to pick the "crucial" save or saves of the game, we'd have to say that Jeff Deslauriers and his PK units did a pretty good job of keeping the Avs from causing any more damage. The Oilers found themselves in a five-on-three situation already down a couple goals. With Stortini going to the box for instigating a fight, Souray and O'Sullivan not far behind him in the box, Deslauriers had to be ready for Hejduk and other Avs snipers. With a handful of blocked shots and a handful of shots on goal for the Avs power play, the Oilers found a way to keep the puck out of the net to give them a chance to tie the game.


THE 4TH STAR

Sam Gagner was the fourth guy out of the star list tonight. With his goal coming very late in the second period giving the Oilers some hope to tying the game, sure sounds clutch to me. He was focused all game and created a lot of chances in front of the net. He not only brought the Oilers within a goal to start the third but there he was again assisting on the tying goal in the opening minutes of the third.




STAT OF THE NIGHT

The Oilers' success has depended largely on scoring first in the game this year. When they open the scoring they have an impressive 7-2-2 record. Consequently when the opposition scores first they are just 1-8-1. This stat has haunted the Oilers so far this year and with the Avs marking the first goal, they were really hoping to destroy that stat. Well, they got their wish! With three unanswered goals by the Oilers, they stuck to their game plan and gave the Avs a taste of their own medicine. With Gagner scoring with just 15 seconds to go in the second period and Potulny snapping one home just 2:45 into the third period to tie the game, the Oilers sure found a way to defeat the bad stat. They move to 2-8-1 when the opponent scores the first goal in the game.




QUOTABLE

"Every line was going, which was big. Every line we threw out there was putting the pressure on." said Potulny. "The momentum came with us to the third period and got a power play goal early. We kept rolling. It's really big when you have all four lines putting the pressure on."

"We knew that if we stuck to what we were doing and kept putting the puck behind their D-men, that we'd get more chances in the third." said O'Sullivan. "That's what we did. We took the game over and got a big power play goal. I think we built off that with some momentum."
BY THE NUMBERS

88.2
- penalty killing percentage on the road for the Avs. 1st in the NHL.
121- Man games lost lost this year for the Oilers.
21- 1st period goals for the Oilers-3rd in NHL.
161- Oilers blocked shots at home-5th in NHL.
1380- career penalty mins for Darcy Tucker.



Author: Kristi Hennessy | edmontonoilers.com

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