Edmonton hockey fans were treated to something special at fan appreciation night.
To thank the fans, Barons goalie Richard Bachman booted the Dallas Stars back out the door with a 4 - 0 shutout in what was genuinely one of the funnest Oilers games of the season. (Credit to Todd Nelson for playing Bachman against the team that drafted him in 2006. This was Bachman’s second start of the year).
"I am so proud of you. This is where the Oilers play," Barons coach Todd Nelson told his team before practice, just like on the Ford commercial.**
Four out of six Oiler defenseman on the ice today played for Oklahoma this year. Forward Andrew Miller was also called up from Oklahoma recently along with goalie Richard Bachman.
Jordan Eberle opened the scoring in the first 30 seconds. If you’re like me, and you saw Edmonton put their third string Baron goalie out with the struggling Baron defensive squad, you thought there’d be goals everywhere like Oprah was handing them out. You get goal! And you get a goal! And you get a goal! With Eberle scoring in the first 30 seconds, I was bracing myself for the storm of pucks.
But then they never came. Not for a while, at least.
In the interim, there was a bit of drama as Nail Yakupov got under the Stars’ skin eventually drawing a penalty. Taylor Hall got a great hit on Jamie Benn, which Benn objected to, like a spoiled little punk. They had a pushing match that was separated by the refs.
For the first two periods Kari Lehtonen did everything he could for his team. The Stars routinely pinched high in the offensive zone and created a lot of odd man rushes the other way. Even Luke Gazdic and Anton Lander had a two-on-one.
Lehtonen made a number of remarkable saves and if he wasn’t so on his game, the score could have been even worse. However, his team did not return the favor. The Stars were unable to do anything at all to put the puck past Bachman.
Eventually Lehtonen cracked in the third period and more goals came. Roy got a goal. Pouliot got a goal. And then the real treat for the fans - Andrew Miller scored his first NHL goal on a penalty shot.
Jordie Benn tripped up Miller right in front of the net leading to the call. Miller snaked his way in and let a beauty of a wrister go right over Lehtonen’s glove. He is one of six players to ever score their first NHL goal on a penalty shot.
You have to ask the Dallas Stars what their problem was though. I want to phone them like they’re some coworker who got busted drinking vodka from the bottle at work. Like, "Buddy, what’s up? Do you need a friend or something?" Half of their opponents today were AHL players, including the goalie who only played his second game of the year. So, whatever that was has to be addressed. Shame on them. Shame.
But credit where it’s due - The Barons played a great hockey game. It wouldn’t be fair to deprive them of that.
*This is a joke. The Oklahoma City Barons did not actually win the Ford Skills and Drills competition.
**Also a joke. Todd Nelson never said that.
19:27 OILERS GOAL Jordan Eberle, assisted by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Benoit Pouliot. Pouliot and Nuge get in on a two-on-one. Pouliot passes to Nuge. Nuge whifs on it but manages to kick it back to Eberle in front of the net who makes no mistake. 1 - 0 Oilers
9:01 Nail Yakupov smokes Vernon Fiddler at centre ice. A brief skirmish between players broken up by refs and Gazdic. Yak and Fiddler didn’t see each other. No penalty.
8:47 OILERS PENALTY Taylor Hall tripping drawn by Curtis McKenzie
6:30 Ref loses sight of puck and Horcoff backhands it in after the whistle, however Richard Bachman never had control of it. Shawn Horcoff tells ref to go fly a kite.
4:28 Great shift on behalf of the Roy-Yak-Schultz line hammer about 6 shots in the direction of Lehtonen.
Shots Dallas 10 - Oilers 7
14:18 STARS PENALTY Curtis McKenzie crosschecking drawn by Nail Yakupov. Nail has been drawing that one all game. After a save by Bachman, Yakupov is behind the net helping retrieve the puck. Takes a shot in the back and looks to me like he sells it a bit, but is indeed a crosscheck.
11:40 BREAKAWAY Nugent-Hopkins has a breakaway but Lehtonen has a sharp pad save on his backhand. Nuge gets a second crack at it seconds later and Lehtonen robs Nuge again sending the puck into the netting.
8:42 PENALTY Matt Fraser and Antoine Roussel each given roughing penalties.
7:57 OILERS PENALTY Ryan Nugent-Hopkins tripping drawn by John Klingberg. Four on three.
Shots Stars 13 - Oilers 9
17:20 BREAKAWAY Big save by Richard Bachman on an Ales Hemsky breakaway
10:36 OILERS GOAL Derek Roy assisted by Nail Yakupov, Teddy Purcell 2 - 0 Oilers
9:27 OILERS PENALTY Benoit Pouliot hooking drawn by Vernon Fiddler
6:28 OILERS GOAL Benoit Pouliot, assisted by Taylor Hall, Justin Schultz 3 - 0 Oilers
3:20 OILERS PENALTY SHOT GOAL Andrew Miller. Miller was tripped by Jordie Benn in front of the net. Circled up to the net and ripped it over Lehtonen’s glove. 4 - 0 Oilers.
Shots Stars 6 - Oilers 12
Total shots Stars 29 - Oilers 28
Corsi events chart care of war-on-ice.com:
That's Derek Roy's fifth goal in his last eight games. #Oilers take 2-0 lead.— Chris Wescott (@TheChrisWescott) March 28, 2015
Hearing that Miller is 6th player to score 1st NHL goal on penalty shot. 2nd shutout win for Oilers this year (Scrivens vs MTL Oct. 27).— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) March 28, 2015
Knowing where all of the photo radar traps in Edmonton has me like: pic.twitter.com/GXrTAjFe7t— Taylor Hall (@hallsy04) March 28, 2015