By Larry Fleisher
PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer
NEW YORK (Ticker) — The Edmonton Oilers have not had a chance
to settle in at home. Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers’ recent
performances ensured it will be a somewhat satisfying return.
The rookie stopped all three shots in the shootout and Ales
Hemsky scored in the second round as the Oilers concluded a
season-high seven-game road trip with a 3-2 triumph over the New
York Rangers on Monday.
Erik Cole and Kyle Brodziak scored in regulation for Edmonton,
which won its first shootout of the season. The Oilers were
15-4 in the bonus format in 2007-08.
Edmonton also improved to 26-16 all-time in the shootout when
Hemsky’s shot trickled off Henrik Lundqvist’s arm.
Drouin-Deslauriers made it stand by making a tremendous glove
save on Markus Naslund.
“Just making the save, knowing the game was done,”
Drouin-Deslauriers said. “It was a really great feeling.”
Defenseman Paul Mara netted his first goal in 66 games, captain
Chris Drury also tallied and Henrik Lundqvist turned aside 29
shots for New York, which is 1-3-1 in its last five games.
“It slid on the glove and I thought I had it,” Lundqvist said of
Hemsky’s tally. “I tried to locate the puck and I saw it went
in behind me. It is a little frustrating to let that one in.
The Oilers concluded their ninth road trip of at least seven
games by winning four of seven (4-3-0). They concluded it with
consecutive victories in New Jersey and New York while also
defeating Philadelphia and Carolina.
Drouin-Deslauriers helped the Oilers get four of their eight
points on this trek. He turned in a 37-save performance Sunday
in New Jersey and then withstood a 20-shot barrage in the
second, allowing just goal by Mara midway through the period.
The goaltender earned his third career victory as he made key
stops on Nikolai Zherdev and Brandon Dubinsky. He nearly gave
up the lead with two minutes in the second after Ryan Callahan’s
shot tried to inch past the goal line, but Drouin-Deslauriers
reached back to grab right before it went past the line.
“I just saw the puck stop,” Drouin-Deslauriers said. “I looked
back and the puck was going toward me.”
If that was not challenging enough for the 24-year-old, he had
to start the third by killing off a Rangers’ power play. He
allowed Drury to score off a rebound of a Scott Gomez slap shot
just 46 seconds into the third but finished with 40 saves.
Drury’s clutch goal and the play of Lundqvist enabled the
Rangers to get at least a point, but it still meant they had
overcome a stretch of sub-par play.
“When you lose a game, I don’t think you necessarily say you
played your best,” Dubinsky said. “It was a tough first period.
We found a way to get ourselves back in the game and put a lot
of pressure on them.
While the Rangers were able to rally, the night belonged to
Drouin-Deslauriers, who could not have been sent back to the
minors unless he cleared waivers during the preseason, forcing
the Oilers to keep three goalies on the active roster.
“I thought he just (played) a workman-like game,” Edmonton coach
Craig MacTavish said. “He’s a big guy and he doesn’t venture to
far away from the net unless he’s handling the puck. He was
just in the right spot and made a 40-save performance look
“He’s playing well,” Oilers defenseman Sheldon Souray added.
“That’s what you need, you need your goalies to play well and
we’ve had some games where the goalies have played really well –
but our game hasn’t been what it should be in front of our
goalies. Tonight, we played pretty well and last night we
played pretty well and he’s making big saves. When you get that
combination, you’re bound to get results.”
The performance by the former second-round pick improved the
Oilers to 8-6-1, which for them is encouraging considering 12 of
the first 15 contests have been on the road and they have not
been in Edmonton in two weeks.
“We knew it was going to be a unique situation playing this many
games on the road to start off the season,” Oilers defenseman
Steve Staios said. “You always look back at one or two that you
may want to get, but overall I think we played some good
Cole had Edmonton’s other first-period tally on this trip and he
struck again when his left skate tipped Fernando Pisani’s
centering pass through the crease past Lundqvist. The play
started when Shawn Horcoff forced a turnover by Scott Gomez in
the neutral zone and Cole ended it by getting his third goal as
a member of the Oilers.
Brodziak’s goal came moments after Souray hit the outside of the
net. The Rangers were unable to clear and the puck went to
defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky, whose blast from the left point
was deflected by Brodziak past Lundqvist just 3:30 into the
The Rangers made it a one-goal contest just over 4 1/2 minutes
later when Callahan centered the puck for Mara, who put a quick
wrist shot from the left circle in for his first goal since
November 6, 2007.