SUN Hockey Pool

Unlikely heroes, unlikely win

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

Truth be told, the Edmonton Oilers were flat out lucky.

Lucky they had Mathieu Garon in net. Lucky it wasn't 7-1 Minnesota after 40 minutes. Lucky they didn't get booed out of town.

When you get outshot 21-4 in the second period, you're supposed to lose. Badly.

But, incredibly, the Oilers survived their second period suicide attempt, escaping with a 2-1 lead, and went on to post an improbable 4-2 victory last night before an announced crowd 16,839 at Rexall Place.

Don't ask why. Don't ask how.

Just shake your head, shrug your shoulders and assume that the hockey gods owe the Minnesota Wild a couple of points.

Either that, or they were paying the Oilers back for all the times they peppered the other team's net, only to have their wounds salted on the scoreboard.

"It's fitting that we win a game like that when we've lost so many games over the years where we outshoot the oppostion, particularly Minnesota," said head coach Craig MacTavish, chalking this one up to poetic justice. "There were lots of nights in here where we peppered them and riddled them with lots of shots and lost the game.

"It's the old adage, what goes around comes around, and we got one back. The goaltender got us a win tonight."

He absolutely stole it.

After posting a 1-0 lead in the first period, the Oilers were stuck in the muck for the entire second.

Five minutes in, the shots were 7-0 Minny. Seven minutes in it was 9-0. Then 10-0, and 11-0.

Finally, on Minnesota's 12th unanswered shot of the frame, they beat Garon. Pavol Demitra jumped on a rebound and it was all square.

The Minnesota shot barrage didn't stop there ... 13-0, 14-0, 15-0.

"They were shooting a lot, and sometimes as a goalie it's good to get a lot of shots - you don't have time to think," said Garon. "My job is just to keep the team in the game and that's what I'm trying to do."

The Oilers finally managed a shot on Jarret Stoll's weak wrister from the point, and wouldn't you know it, it went in.

The shots are 15-1 and the period is tied 1-1.

"He set up the game for us to win, that's what you get from great goaltending," said Steve Staios.

By the second intermission the shots were 21-4 in the period and 31-11 overall and Edmonton had a 2-1 lead.

"We didn't do a great job of breaking the puck out tonight, they were able to get to the forecheck all night on us," said Kyle Brodziak, whose two goals in the third period put the game out of reach.

"But Matty did a pretty unbelievable job holding us in the game."

Asked if he lit into the team between the second and third, Garon chuckled and said nobody needed to be told they weren't playing well enough.

"We're big enough to understand we have to play better than that," he said. "After two periods we weren't really satisfied and the way we started the third period was a great example of that."

Indeed, by the time the third was 4:30 old, it was 4-1 Oilers on Brodziak's goals. Newcomer Curtis Glencross assisted on both.

"It's great to see how the guys reacted in the third period," said Garon.


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