Oilers smothered by Leafs 6-4
|Edmonton's Mike Comrie attempts to get the puck on Toronto's Jonas Gustavsson Saturday, March 13 in Toronto. The Maple Leafs went on to beat the Oilers 6-4. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
It was a game packed with 23 penalties, 10 goals, and a handful of scraps, but after 60 minutes it was the Maple Leafs who earned what really counts -- two points -- with a 6-4 victory over the Oilers Saturday night in Toronto.
Starting goalie Jeff Deslauriers
allowed five goals on 28 shots through 40 minutes, followed by Devan Dubnyk
, who made 18 saves on 19 attempts in the third period. Goals by Andrew Cogliano
, Gilbert Brule
, Dustin Penner
, and Aaron Johnson encouraged several comeback attempts but, in the end, weren't enough for the win.
The Oilers and Leafs wasted no time getting the puck to the net, with both clubs tallying six shots each in the first six minutes. At 7:35, Toronto's Rickard Wallin took the game's first penalty, but Edmonton couldn't beat Jonas Gustavsson on their seventh attempt and continued to strive for the opening goal.
After killing the penalty, the Leafs gained control of the shot clock and, with attempt number 10, shifted it to the scoreclock. On the dot to Jeff Deslauriers
' right, center Tyler Bozak got the puck to winger Nikolai Kulemin, whose quick release fooled the Oilers goalie and gave the Leafs a 1-0 lead.
Five minutes later, Kulemin and Bozak teamed up with Phil Kessel to make it 2-0. With help from his line-mates, Bozak battled in on the net and doubled his club's lead with a crisp backhander.
Toronto's two-goal, three-shot cushion lasted until the end of the first period.
Although the Leafs started the middle frame with a shot on Deslauriers, the Oilers goalie made the save and allowed his forwards to get one back in the other direction. 57 seconds in, Ontario-native Andrew Cogliano
skated up the right wing and went top-shelf on Gustavsson with a slick wrist shot to make it 2-1.
44 seconds later, a holding minor to Taylor Chorney
put the Oilers on the penalty kill but the best scoring opportunity of the stretch belonged to Chorney upon his release. After snagging the loose puck in the neutral zone, the rookie defenceman broke in on Gustavsson but was denied his first NHL goal.
Following the penalty, Toronto regained control and surged ahead. With help from Carl Gunnarsson, John Mitchell got his fifth of the season at 4:24.
One minute later, overlapping Oilers infractions resulted in a two-man power-play and 4-1 lead for the Leafs courtesy of Phil Kessel. The goal cut short Zack Stortini
's roughing minor, and 35 seconds later, Mikhail Grabovski freed Aaron Johnson from the penalty box with the fifth home goal of the game.
The Leafs continued to press for more, and after a goal-mouth scramble, a scrum ensued above Deslauriers. The goalie took exception to Dion Phaneuf's prodding and went after the Leaf, resulting in a few gloves-on punches and roughing minors to both players.
Toronto owned a 26-15 shot lead after the assault, but the next shot -- and goal -- would belong to Edmonton. While deep in the corner, Cogliano spotted Brule in the mid-slot, hit him with the puck and watched number 67 slap it into the mesh to set the score 5-2.
Four more infractions kept the penalty doors swinging and ensured the Oilers would start the final frame down three goals, seven shots, and one man.
After allowing five goals on 28 shots, Deslauriers was ushered out of the net and replaced by Devan Dubnyk
to start the third period.
1:16 into Dubnyk's term, Phaneuf clipped Ryan Potulny near the Leafs bench, prompting retaliation from Theo Peckham
. The shoving match netted a tripping minor to Phaneuf and a roughing minor and 10-minute misconduct to Peckham.
Near the end of Phaneuf's two-minutes, Bozak was punished for flipping the puck over the glass and entered the penalty box. 42 seconds into the power-play, Dustin Penner
tipped Ryan Whitney
's point shot past Gustavsson to get the Oilers back within two.
The Leafs broke the 40-shot mark in the final 10 minutes of regulation, but Dubnyk ensured the extra attempts didn't translate to extra goals.
Dubnyk's relief effort was further complicated when Cogliano and Ethan Moreau offered the Leafs a lengthy five-on-three. At 15:38, Kessel made it 6-3 for the Leafs and, along with Bozak, got his third point of the game.
The tables turned following the goal when Edmonton benefited from their own two-man-advantage for 92 seconds. Although the visitors couldn't capitalize during Colton Orr's roughing minor, Aaron Johnson earned his first Oilers goal while Phaneuf continued to sit out.
Unfortunately, the powerplay goal and six skaters in the final minute weren't enough to force extra time and the Oilers dropped a 6-4 decision in Toronto Saturday night.
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