Taylor Chorney single-handidly provided momentum as the first period came to a close. A thunderous hit in the neutral zone on Phoenix's Lee Stempniak and an ensuing fight with Edmonton native Vernon Fiddler sparked the Oilers when they were behind by a count of 2-0 early in the game. Following the fight, Phoenix was penalized with an instigator call and the Oilers capitalized on the powerplay. Edmonton finished the period only down by one and went on to complete the comeback that was initiated by the Chorney hit.
It happens to be the number of tonight's MVP, but fittingly it also represents the physical tone that tonight's game took. In total, 48 hits were delivered on this night with 28 being credited to the Oilers.
For these two teams, special teams has been an important facet of the game through their pre-season schedules. Tonight, only 10 minor penalties and powerplay chances were awarded.
Martin Gerber allowed his first goal in 64:19 of pre-season action tonight when the Coyotes recorded their late third period tying marker.
The Oilers extend their perfect pre-season record to 4-0.
Sam Gagner brought the Rexall faithful to its feet when he scored a brilliant breakaway goal late in the first period to pull the Oilers within one. Following a pin-point stretch pass by Ladislav Smid, Gagner collected the puck and beat his man wide, before going to his backhand and beating dejected goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov. Gagner's goal was scored on the powerplay and came shortly after Taylor Chorney sparked the crowd with his hit and fight combination that led to the opportunity.
Two offensive clubs went head-to-head and it turned out to be a game of defensive play. Alex Plante led the way on the blueline with a solid 20:34 of ice-time and a pair of assists that tied the game and provided the Oilers with the lead in the third period. In addition, Plante was a physical force and provided a steady breakout pass for the forwards to ignite the offensive attack.
Although his strong game won't appear on the stats sheet, defencemen Richard Petiot continued to impress as he pushes for a roster spot for opening night. While Petiot can help the team offensively in a pinch as well, his defensive game was a tremendous standout tonight. His positioning, puck support, and the physical element to his game have all been noticeable throughout camp; but tonight Petiot led the way defensively, which included a team-high six hits.
With defencemen such as Alex Plante and Richard Petiot in the lineup, the hit of the game came from a rather unlikely source. Shortly after the Oilers fell behind 2-0 in quick succession, Taylor Chorney stepped up and made a strong shoulder-to-shoulder hit on Lee Stempniak that brought Rexall Place to life. Vernon Fiddler challenged Chorney to a fight, to which he obliged, and further engaged the ruckus Rexall crowd after he received the decision in a quick but spirited bout.
With the Oilers coming away with a 3-2 shootout victory, eight different players got on the scoresheet offensively. Of those eight players, six recorded their first points of the pre-season. With roster assignments and cuts looming, it could prove to be a valuable evening for many players on the bubble.
"I'm known to be a guy to score goals, so I was happy to get one tonight; but I think I played pretty well in the other games. I hope I showed that I can play a different type of game if I don't score."
- Alexandre Giroux on his performance tonight against Phoenix.
Friday, October 1 vs. Calgary 7:00 p.m. MT (SN 1 / 630 CHED)
The Battle of Alberta ignites for the 2010-2011 season when the Calgary Flames pay a visit to Rexall Place. Both teams enter Friday night's contest with perfect pre-season records; Calgary with five wins and the Oilers with four.