Oilers edged 5-4 in shootout
|Edmonton's Devan Dubnyk smothers the puck with Montreal's forwards watching anxiously Thursday, March 11 at Bell Center. The Canadiens went on to beat the Oilers 5-4 in a shootout. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
After a shaky start in which they both allowed two goals on less than six shots, Devan Dubnyk
and Jaroslav Halak stepped up their play and watched their skaters battle back and forth through 60 minutes and overtime. In the shootout, the goalies were perfect through four rounds but come round five, Andrei Kostitsyn beat Dubnyk and Sam Gagner
was unable to counter, sealing a 5-4 shootout win for the Canadiens.
Robert Nilsson, Gagner, Andrew Cogliano
and Shawn Horcoff
scored for Edmonton, while Dubnyk finished with 22 saves in his 10th NHL appearance.
The Habs got the hometown crowd cheering early in the game. Only 1:20 after opening puck drop, Andrei Kostitsyn slipped the puck to Tomas Plekanec, who fired above Devan Dubnyk
to put Montreal up 1-0.
But only 1:02 later, Robert Nilsson silenced the throng. With help from Tom Gilbert
and Ryan Potulny, the flashy forward beat Jaroslav Halak, tying the game at one.
Officials had little time to complete the paperwork, thanks in part to a holding minor to Montreal's Benoit Pouliot. Only 14 seconds into the powerplay, Sam Gagner
snuck up beside Halak and, from a sharp angle, clipped the top of the net to give Edmonton the lead. With the primary assist on the play, call-up Chris Minard registered his first point as an Oiler.
The goalies temporarily quelled the rush after Gagner's goal, but just before the period's midway point, les Habitants got back on even terms. Stuck on Dubnyk's left post, Brian Gionta deflected Andrei Markov's shot into the net to make it 2-2.
The Oilers assumed a 9-6 shot lead as the period continued, but with 2:15 left on the clock, Gilbert was called for interference and the Habs benefited from their first powerplay. Although the home team managed to tie the shot-clock, they couldn't break the stalemate and the 2-2 tie extended into the second period.
Montreal crafted a few scoring opportunities in the first half of the middle frame, but Dubnyk matched each shot with a save. Nine minutes in, the Habs took a bench minor for too many men, but the Oilers sputtered on the powerplay and failed to register a shot.
A minute later, the tables turned when Theo Peckham
was called for holding, but the home man-advantage was equally ineffective.
Although the Canadiens couldn't get ahead during five-on-four, Travis Moen got the job done shortly thereafter. Dubnyk made a pair of stops with the Habs buzzing, but Moen managed to track down the puck and force it under the goalie, setting the score 3-2.
Before the end of the period, Oilers d-man Ryan Whitney
blocked a with his right leg and limped back to the bench. It was later announced that he would not return to the game.
Edmonton started strong in the final frame, and 32 seconds in that persistence paid off in a goal. With Dustin Penner
's imovable assistance in the crease, Andrew Cogliano
got the puck on his stick and under Halak to make it 3-3.
The newly-tied game was put in jeopardy when Gagner and Shawn Horcoff
were assessed minor penalties only 43 seconds apart, but the Canadiens were unable to capitalize on the five-on-three.
At the eight-minute mark, Sergei Kostitsyn fooled Dubnyk with a wrister to renew Montreal's lead, but 1:14 later, Horcoff fooled Halak with a slapshot to make it even once again.
The game stayed even on all accounts until the final 17 seconds of regulation when the Oil were called for too many men. Although the team outlasted 60 minutes, they would start sudden death down four men to three.
Edmonton limited Montreal to one powerplay shot early in overtime, but the visitors were put back on the disadvantage with 1:22 remaining in the extra frame thanks to a Cogliano holding minor. Midway through the penalty, Horcoff snagged the puck, broke in shorthanded on Halak, and was slashed by Plekanec, forcing 46 seconds of three-on-three.
The opened-up ice failed to force a game-winner, and the game progressed to a shootout.
It was a goaltending duel through four rounds of the breakaway relay as Dubnyk and Halak each stopped their first four shots. But in round five, Andrei Kostitsyn flipped the puck under Dubnyk's blocker and Gagner was unable to match with a goal, resulting in a 5-4 win for the Canadiens.
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