Aeros launch assault, drop Barons 4-3 in a shootout
Barons out-shot 46-20, give up third-period lead en route to loss vs. Houston
Mikael Granlund and Zack Phillips each scored in the shootout while the visitors' snipers fell silent as the Houston Aeros rallied back to defeat the Oklahoma City Barons 4-3 Sunday night at the Toyota Center.
Taylor Hall picked up a goal and two assists, while Yann Danis was sensational in stopping 43 of 46 shots.
Under pressure less than a minute in, Houston's Marco Scandella lobbed a soft pass up the middle that was intercepted by Mark Arcobello. The red-hot pivot wasted little time in getting a shot away, but Hackett shut the door.
At the other end moments later, Aeros winger Nick Palmieri executed a slick wrap-around, setting up a tap-in for Rob Mignardi to make it a 1-0 Houston lead 2:49 in.
The Barons didn't let up, however, scoring the equalizer at 5:25. Jordan Henry's long-range point shot was initially stopped, but Taylor Hall scooped up the rebound and neatly deposited the loose puck behind the helpless netminder.
With 12:27 on the clock, Scandella's miscues resurfaced as he was assessed a penalty for high-sticking. OKC's power-play struggled mightily, giving up several glorious shorthanded opportunities. Danis stopped them all, including a nifty, in-all-alone chance by Jason Zucker that ultimately sailed high and wide.
Again on the power-play as Zucker served a tripping minor, Justin Schultz ripped a one-timer past Hackett to give the Barons a 2-1 lead with his 14th of the season. Hall, who was the victim of Zucker's questionable penalty, picked up an assist to advance on a multi-point evening.
The man-advantage tables turned with three minutes to play when Jordan Eberle was charged with tripping. The Barons killed it but, once out, Eberle took another. Heading into the second period up 14-10 in shots but down by one on the scoreboard, Houston still had 1:30 with which to work on the power-play.
Just as Eberle's second penalty expired, the Barons' PK got another test as a delay of game (puck over the glass) minor put the Aeros back to the power-play. Once again, Danis was solid in denying the home team -- the best chance came courtesy of Brian Connelly, who unleashed a one-timer that the Barons 'tender kicked out with his left pad.
The Barons and Aeros continued to exchange power-play chances as the period progressed, but neither team could generate much of consequence.
In a rare 5-on-5 sequence, Houston's Charlie Coyle raced down the wing and around the net, spotting a teammate sliding down into the slot. With Hall, Henry, Magnus Paajarvi and Martin Marincin all caught napping below the hashmarks, Mikael Granlund met the pass and rifled a shot past Danis to make it a 2-2 game.
In addition to cashing another goal, the Aeros' shot lead extended to a 26-15 advantage in the middle frame.
After outshooting the Barons 12-5 in the second period, the Aeros' onslaught continued. Danis was relentless, too, stoning Kyle Medvec with another brilliant pad save; seconds later, he blocked a dangerous-looking short-side attempt by Zucker.
By the eight-minute mark, another chance came to be as Joel Broda peeled off the side boards and snapped a quick shot on goal. Danis, well out to challenge the shot, smothered it with ease. That save was Danis' fifth of the period -- at the other end, Hackett hadn't yet faced a single shot to start the period.
Despite not recording a shot, OKC got the period's best scoring chance 11 minutes in as Tyler Cuma mishandled the puck. Paajarvi and Anton Lander both pounced on the turnover, but neither could corral the bouncing puck and secure the go-ahead goal.
Combined, Arcobello and Eberle recorded nine points in Saturday's win over San Antonio. Silenced for most of the night, the duo came to life near the 10-minute mark to give the Barons the lead. Speeding down the near side, Arcobello set his sights and launched a missile of a wrist shot up and over Hackett at 11:11.
Eberle and Hall picked up the assists.
With 3:38 on the clock, a penalty-free third period was erased as Jordan Henry was sent off to serve a slashing minor. As the infraction was almost set to expire, Houston scored the equalizer. Although he was being hounded by Schultz at the goal mouth, Zucker outmuscled the rookie and redirected a centering feed past Danis at 17:49.
Johan Larsson and Zucker and executed an odd-man rush that nearly cashed the winner, but Danis made a slick blocker save. He made another sensational stop seconds later as Coyle crashed the crease, his 38th of the night.
With 2:56 to play in the extra period, a penalty to Martin Marincin gave the Aeros a 4-on-3 power-play. Zucker worked his magic once more, but Danis had the answer on three separate chances by the 20-year-old.
Houston extended to a staggering 45-20 lead in shots, but a shootout was needed to decide a winner.
Jason Zucker - SAVE
Mikael Granlund - SCORES
Zack Phillips - SCORES
Charlie Coyle - SAVE
Mark Arcobello - SAVE
Jordan Eberle - SAVE
Justin Schultz - SAVE
Taylor Hall - SAVE
Houston wins the game 4-3.
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick