A quick goal by Gilbert Brule and shorthanded backhander from Dustin Penner put the Oilers ahead 2-0 early in the first period Thursday night, and although the Islanders threatened to battle back, the home team held them at bay for a 2-1 win. With 30 saves on the night, Devan Dubnyk earned first star and the win.
Under the Scope
The Oil and Isles battled back and forth through the game's first three minutes, but it took 22 more seconds for a team to land an offensive jab. Although Andrew Cogliano fired wide, the end-board rebound landed on Brule's stick and was directed back behind goalie Nathan Lawson, putting the Oilers up 1-0.
At the opposite end of the ice, goalie Dubnyk followed up the goal with a delay-of-game penalty. The power-play didn't have the desired effect for New York, however: late in the infraction, Penner powered up the left wing and re-lit Lawson's lamp to double Edmonton's lead shorthanded. After taking an assist on the first goal and receiving help from Cogliano for the second, Penner joined Cogliano in the two-point club.
With two goals allowed on six shots, Lawson was then pulled in favour of Kevin Poulin, who promptly took to the ice for his NHL debut.
Two more Oilers penalties, this time to Brule and Ladislav Smid, helped the Isles attain a 13-9 shot advantage, but Dubnyk turned away each attempt to preserve Edmonton's 2-0 lead heading into the second period.
Edmonton and New York added a few shots each before a shoving match in front of Poulin resulted in roughing minors to Colin Fraser and Matt Martin. Four-on-four passed without a goal, but it didn't stay even for long as Smid took his second penalty of the night to offer the Islanders their fourth power-play.
Although the Oilers killed those two minutes, the Isles struck only four seconds later. From the top of the face-off circle, Blake Comeau dug deep and snapped the puck past Dubnyk to get the visitors back within one.
After 40 minutes, the Oilers were up 2-1 but trailed 23-15 on the shot clock.
Early in the third period, it was announced that Jim Vandermeer injured his right ankle and would not return to the game. The defenceman had just returned to the line-up after missing eight games due to the same injury.
Penalty box doors kept swinging as the period progressed. With Brule serving an interference minor near the 10-minute mark, Dubnyk attempted to cover the puck while the Isles swarmed. Although the disc slipped out from under his glove and deflected into the net, referees had already blown down the play, keeping the goal off the clock.
Edmonton's penalty trouble persisted: with less than six mintues left in regulation, Smid and Tom Gilbert took consecutive infractions, offering the visitors a five-on-three for 1:38. Although the Isles topped 30 shots on the two-man-advantage, Dubnyk came up with some big stops -- including a stellar glove snag -- to preserve his club's lead.
New York pulled Poulin in the final 90 seconds but failed to find an equalizer, resulting in a 2-1 win for Edmonton at Rexall Place.