Edmonton Oilers Finish Season on a High

Martin MaleAnalyst IApril 4, 2008

The Edmonton Oilers finished their regular season last night the same way it started: With a hard-fought victory.

In the process of last night's victory, they also eliminated the Vancouver Canucks from the NHL Stanley Cup playoffs.

It is sweet being the spoiler once your own season has been decided.

Last night's game against the Canucks was a strange game though, as it appeared the men in black and white stripes were going to do whatever they could to make sure that the Canucks finale against the Flames on Saturday night meant something.

The zebras managed to call Edmonton for nine penalties, totaling 29 minutes, including giving the Canucks eight power play opportunities for almost one third of the game.

Yes, the five-minute major to Mathieu Roy was deserved along with his game misconduct, although it was an identical play to one the Canuck's Matt Cooke made against him earlier in the season that was uncalled and resulted in a concussion for Roy.

Some of the other penalties were questionable. Calling Pitkanen for roughing late in the second period after he had been manhandled was a bit of a joke.

Then there were the two high-sticking calls against the Canucks that didn't get called. It just seemed a little one sided.

Unlike the other night against the Flames, the Oilers received goaltending from Dwayne Roloson that was better that what Vancouver received from Roberto Luongo.

Roloson ended the night with 37 saves, and the only goal was a power play goal with 6:57 on the clock to make the game close. The goal was, as in past games, a goal resulting in a scrum around the Oiler net and Roloson failing to smother the puck.

The Oilers started the game quick and had some early territorial play but were unable to hit the net. In fact it took until 14:35 of the first period before they registered a shot. It was not due to bad play either as they had several glorious chances but failed to hit the net with their shots.

The Oilers broke the goose eggs, nine minutes into the second period as Marty Reasoner banged home a loose puck from a Fernando Pisani shot.

Early in the second period the Oilers lost Jarrett Stoll as he took a Steve Staios clearing shot off his ear and was escorted to the Oiler dressing room for stitches at least.

Stoll did return and at 18:30 of the period blasted a one-time past Luongo. It was a perfect feed from Marc Pouliot and the power play unit only took 25 seconds to cash in.

Roloson dominated in the third period making 13 saves off 14 shots. The Canucks then went into self destruct mode.

Down by one and with Luongo on the bench, Henrik Sedin took a hooking penalty behind the Oiler net. A weak call, yes, but not much different that the ones that the Oilers had been called for all game.

Then with less than 30 seconds to go, with the Canucks' net empty and the Oilers on the power play, Alexandre Edler killed any remaining hope by taking a slashing penalty. With 18 seconds left, the Canucks were down a goal, and they didn't even get a sniff.

The Oilers finished their season dragging the Canucks out with them.