Oilers finish short in feisty Rexall Place finale
|Edmonton rookie Jeff Petry fires the puck away from Minnesota's Jared Spurgeon during the final home game of the 2010-11 season at Rexall Place on Friday, April 8, 2011. (Photo by Andy Devlin / Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club)
Aggressive play that netted 122 penalty minutes to both teams may have been thrilling for fans, but the penalties and misconducts hobbled the Oilers and limited them to one goal, courtesy of Teemu Hartikainen
. With two goals of their own, including an empty-netter, the Wild emerged with a 3-1 win in the final game of the season at Rexall Place.
The game was rough right from the start: on opening face-off, Theo Peckham
and Clayton Stoner squared off in the neutral zone. The spirited brawl concluded in fighting majors to both players plus a game misconduct to Stoner, who failed to tie down his jersey and lost it in the altercation.
Just over two minutes later, Jean-Francois Jacques
hit Carson McMillan near the Wild bench, triggering retaliation from Brad Staubitz and a second fight for the fans to enjoy. Staubitz stumbled early but was pulled up by Jacques before a linesman interrupted the fray.
A pair of fighting majors were added to the list of infractions, joined soon after by a tripping minor to Pierre-Marc Bouchard. The Oilers took a 5-1 shot lead on the power-play but couldn't get one past visiting goalie Jose Theodore.
Then the game really degenerated. Near the eight-minute mark, Staubitz hit Magnus Paajarvi
and Steve MacIntyre
lost it, ferociously attacking the Minnesota winger at center ice. MacIntyre was assessed an instigating minor, fighting major, and game misconduct, resulting in a seven-minute power-play for the Wild.
But the man-advantage quickly got complicated. One minute in, another melee broke out in front of the Oilers bench. When fists stopped flying, a Cal Clutterbuck boarding major, Kyle Brodziak misconduct, Theo Peckham
misconduct, and Liam Reddox
misconduct plus roughing minor were added to the scoresheet.
Despite all the penalties and alternating power-plays, the game remained scoreless -- until Oilers rookie Chris VandeVelde
took a double-minor for high-sticking. Less than a minute into the man-advantage, Brent Burns snapped the puck past Devan Dubnyk
to give Minnesota a 1-0 lead.
The first period closed with 100 penalty minutes, 15 shots, and one goal.
Trailing 8-7 in shots at the start of the middle frame, Minnesota quickly evened it up and added a second goal. Thanks to a bang-on pass from Bouchard, Spurgeon caught the puck in Dubnyk's crease and fired it into the net to set the score 2-0.
But 1:27 later, Edmonton got that one back. When the puck slipped past Theodore and coasted softly through the blue paint, Teemu Hartikainen
pounced, forcing the puck across the line and the Oilers on the board.
Near the game's midway point, the Oilers benefited from a holding minor to Spurgeon. The team excelled on the power-play, but big saves by Theodore and his sturdy right post kept an equalizer off the board.
Although the Oilers held a 23-13 shot lead after 40 minutes, a late holding minor to VandeVelde ensured the club would start the third period down one man and one goal.
Minnesota owned Edmonton on the power-play and beyond, testing Dubnyk with 11 shots in the first 11 minutes; the Oilers, by comparison, got only one on Theodore.
With 6:14 remaining in regulation, the Oilers had another opportunity to tie it up on the power-play. With Mikko Koivu serving a slashing minor and Peckham gone for the game with his second 10-minute misconduct, the home team settled in on Theodore.
A well-planned attack and resulting scramble created confusion in the crease, and under a jumble of players, the puck slid across the line. Officials ruled that the whistle had already been blown, however, and the goal was waved off.
At the tail end of Koivu's penalty, another scrum netted coincidental roughing minors to Hartikainen and Drew Bagnall. Charged and convicted of tripping, Linus Omark
soon took a seat beside Hartikainen, offering the Wild a late power-play.
The man-advantage failed to produce an insurance goal, but with Dubnyk out of his net in the final minute, Andrew Brunette slipped the puck across the line to seal a 3-1 win for Minnesota.
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