Habs edge Oilers in great outdoors
Sat Nov 22 23:22:38 2003
CBC SPORTS ONLINE -
An NHL-record crowd of 57,167 braved freezing temperatures only to leave
disappointed as the Montreal Canadiens edged the Edmonton Oilers 4-3
Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
Steam rises from Montreal Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore during the second period Saturday, outdoors in Edmonton. (CP/Tom Hanson)
Yanic Perreault and Richard Zednik each scored two goals for the
Canadiens while Eric Brewer, Jarret Stoll and Steve Staios replied for
the Oilers, who entered the highly-anticipated evening on a four-game
With temperatures hitting -20 Celsius at game time, players insulated
themselves with sweatshirts under their team sweaters. Montreal
netminder Jose Theodore sported a Habs toque with a red and blue pompom
over top of his mask, but the cold didn't seem to phase him.
Theodore made 34 saves for the Canadiens, who snapped a two-game slide
and improved to 3-5-1-1 in the month of November. Patrice Brisebois
added two assists in the win.
"It's hard to feel good out there, your equipment is so cold," said
"You have a hard time moving...It was really like when you play for fun,
you just throw yourself all over the place and hope for the puck to hit
Most of the fans stuck around to the end, despite arriving six hours
earlier to watch the Oilers alumni take on Habs alumni -- a game that
was won 2-0 by the Oilers oldtimers.
The Oilers-Habs game easily surpassed the previous record attendance of
28,183 for a Philadelphia-Tampa Bay playoff game in 1996.
"There was only one thing lacking in the whole evening and that was we
didn't deliver the win," said Edmonton coach Craig MacTavish.
One other drawback to the game was the ice surface. The frigid
temperatures made it chip easily.
"The ice was not great but the players persevered through it," said
MacTavish. "I knew bounces around the net were going to play a big part
in the hockey game and they did."
Theodore fell victim to a hole that had to be patched behind the
Montreal net. Trying to play the puck, the Montreal netminder tripped
and ended up on his rear.
"It was pretty chippy," Oilers forward Mike York said of the ice. "Just
trying to make simple plays was hard.
"It got real bad during the end. You'd try to make a pass and the puck
would hop right off your stick."
Theodore and Oilers netminder Ty Conklin combined for 17 saves in a
scoreless first period, with Theodore turning aside 12 shots, including
a late opportunity by Edmonton forward Raffi Torres.
The Canadiens jumped on the board when Zednik scored his fifth of the
season just 39 seconds into the second stanza.
Perreault made it 2-0 midway through the second when, on a power play,
he followed up on a bouncing rebound and stuffed the puck past Conklin.
But the Oilers finally got on the board a few minutes later when
Brewer's tip-in trickled under Theodore's left skate to make it 2-1 with
6:15 remaining in the period.
Perrault made a nice move for his second goal of the game, handing the
Canadiens a 3-1 lead just 2:22 into the third. He received a pass behind
the net from Niklas Sundstrom, and rather than sending it out front,
kept it himself, wheeling around the cage and sliding it past Conklin
for his seventh of the season.
Edmonton made it interesting later in the third, pulling within 3-2 when
Stoll picked up a rebound in front and stuffed it home with 6:54
remaining to play.
Zednik made a nice move on Conklin just over a minute later, scoring his
second of the game to make it 4-2, but Staios' goal 39 seconds after
that restored the drama.
Theodore was knocked down on the play and while sprawled out in front,
didn't make it back in time to stop the point shot by Staios. But he was
solid for the remaining five minutes and kept Edmonton out of the net to
preserve the win. with files from Sports Network and Canadian Press
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