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Under the Scope: Oilers vs. Wild

by Karmela Arocena / Edmonton Oilers

A ceremony to commemorate anthem singer Paul Lorieau's retirement kick-started the final home game of the 2010-2011 season for the Oilers, as they took on the Minnesota Wild.

Penalties and fights highlighted the opening 20 minutes as each team were given opportunities on the man advantage.  Unfortunately, the Wild were the only ones able to capitalize in the period, entering the first intermission with a 1-0 lead.

The Wild increased their lead to 2-0 just 1:25 into the second, but rookie Teemu Hartikainen answered back 1:27 later with a goal from Jordan Eberle.  The score stayed 2-1 heading into the third, until, unfortunately, the Wild made it 3-1 on an empty net goal with 49 seconds left to play in the game.  The goal sealed a Wild victory, as the Oilers dropped their last home game of the season.

Devan Dubnyk returned between the pipes where he stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

A first period that saw 100 penalty minutes being handed out gave both teams the opportunity to capitalize with powerplay opportunities. Unfortunately, the Wild were the first to do so after Brent Burns scored a powerplay goal at 14:30 of the first.  The first goal was critical in the eventful first 20 minutes, as it allowed the Wild to gain momentum that lead to their 3-1 victory.

44 Edmonton mustered a 44% efficiency rate in the faceoff circle tonight. Chris VandeVelde had the best rate of anyone on the Oilers roster, going 9-9 for a 50% rate.
100 The first period of this game was more than just chippy. Between the two teams, there were 100 penalty minutes in the first period.
0 With the Oilers unable to record a win against the Wild tonight, the Oilers had failed to earn any points against their Northwest Division rivals. They were the only Western Conference team the Oilers had failed to earn a point against.
7 Tonight's game saw seven 10-minute misconducts handed out.  Six were given out in the first period alone. Theo Peckham had two of the seven.

Mikko Koivu
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 E 1

Teemu Hartikainen
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 4

Pierre-Marc Bouchard
G A P +/- Shots
0 3 3 E 2

Jose Theodore
29 28 1 59:53 .966

Devan Dubnyk
26 24 2 59:33 .923

Brent Burns - D

28:42 - 1P, -1 rating

Chris VandeVelde - C

21:53 - 1P, +1 rating

The eventual game-winning goal for the Wild proved to be one of beauty.  Pierre-Marc Bouchard was skating down the wing when he was able to feed Jared Spurgeon, who was powering towards the net.  After receiving the puck through three sets of legs, Spurgeon quickly tapped the puck past Dubnyk to make it 2-0 for the Wild.

For a sixth-round pick, Teemu Hartikainen is proving to be a diamond in the rough.  The young Finn scored the lone Oilers goal tonight and registered four shots against Jose Theodore.  He also wasn't afraid to get nasty in the third, where he went off for roughing with Drew Bagnell.  His well rounded game earned him the game's second star.

Chris VandeVelde is quietly growing in his role with the Oilers since his call-up.  Tonight the 24 year old forward was in the starting line-up and was relied upon heavily on the penalty kill where he played 16:05 of his 21:53.  Tonight he assisted on the only Oilers' goal, was a +1, registered three shots on goal, was the only player above 50% in the faceoff dot and for the third-straight game he led the Oilers in ice-time.

Just seven seconds into the game, the gloves were dropped between Theo Peckham and Clayton Stoner.  The two heavyweights laid down some massive hits on each other.  Both Peckham and and Stoner were connecting punches and laying down bombs, until Peckham was able to wrestle Stoner to the ice.  It was the first fight of a penalty and brawl filled first period.

The Minnesota Wild won every match-up against the Oilers this season.  However, tonight was the first time in the season series that Minnesota didn't score four goals. In every other game this season, the Wild had scored four goals against the Oilers.

"We got tired out in the third and we didn't have the energy.  Penalties, in two ways like that, may take a toll on you."

- Jordan Eberle on how the fight-filled first period affected his team's ability through 60 minutes of play.

Sunday, April 10 at Colorado
  1:00pm MDT (SNET-EDM / 630 CHED)

The Oilers conclude their 2010-2011 season in Denver when they take on the Avalanche in a Sunday matinée game.  Catch the action at 1:00pm on Sportsnet Edmonton.

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