For a team that was 80% filled with young guys, “not-enoughs”, or otherwise ne’er do wells that were playing against a team that obviously had more talent up front, the Oilers played well enough to hang on for the victory. Up 2-0, team looked poised to cruise to the finish line with a victory that was sure to be just a little bit more than an opening statement on the new season. A truly fat rebound by Roberto Luongo early in the first period allowed former Toronto Marlie Ben Ondrus to pump one in. Chris Vande Velde had his first of the preseason in the second. Martin Gerber played perfectly throughout the first half of the game
But then, it almost happened again.
And forgive me for trying to dampen a victory, but if you’ve paid attention to this team for the last little while, you’ll see what I’m getting at. Dubnyk yielded a tough one from Daniel Sedin a couple of minutes in the third, and five minutes later allowed a softie shorthander from Peter Schaefer who was just over the Oiler blue line,knotting the match at 2 a piece.
The slow burn was back. You could feel it in your bones. It was only a matter of when it was going to happen. A dumb penalty, a truly awful giveaway… something.
But then, something else happened. Something else entirely. The Oilers found themselves on a powerplay midway through the third period, and after a tough save by Devan Dubnyk off of Joel Perreault, Ryan Whitney found himself with the puck behind the Edmonton net. Whitney fired the puck 140 feet up the ice to a streaking Gregory Stewart. Stewart, a guy known more for his fists, promptly put it over the right shoulder of Cory Schneider.