Patrick Maroon Registers Hat Trick as Edmonton Oilers Exorcise Demons in Boston with 4-3 Victory Over Bruins
BOSTON — In a season where the Edmonton Oilers have been exorcizing ghost after ghost on their road to redemption, they put one away Thursday that had been haunting them for two decades.
Edmonton blew 20 years worth of dust and cobwebs off a result they haven’t seen in Boston since before their current captain was even born, beating the Bruins in regulation here for the first time since Nov. 7, 1996.
Patrick Maroon led the charge, scoring a goal in each period of a rare 4-3 victory.
Now, it’s not like Maroon is one of those guys who doesn’t know what colour a goal light is — he’s got a career-high 14 on the season with 42 games left — but the first hat-trick of his NHL career had the six-foot-three, 230-pounder grinning like this was his his first season of atom and his mom was watching.
“This is cool, this is pretty special for me,” he said. “I never in a thousand years imagined me getting a hat-trick in the NHL. It’s pretty cool, it’s pretty special, I’ll take it.”
So will the Oilers. They needed a big game after losing at home on New Year’s Eve to Vancouver and being dominated Tuesday in Columbus. They responded with a clutch effort.
“They came out strong in the first but we held our ground and turned the game around after that,” said defenceman Adam Larsson. “I thought we played pretty well after the first half and we got rewarded for it, which is nice moving forward.
“We didn’t feel like we got the best out of ourselves (in Columbus), so this was a nice win for us.”
Maroon scored his first goal 68 seconds after the opening face off, and the second one 2:26 after Patrice Bergeron had given the Bruins a 2-1 lead in the second.
His third was the insurance marker midway through the third period, after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins gave Edmonton a 3-2 lead just 14 seconds in.
Head coach Todd McLellan says three goals were only a small part of what Maroon brought to the fight on Thursday.
“Hat trick, a scrap against a big strong, tough individual (Zdeno Chara), their leader, that’s what you can see on the game sheet,” said McLellan. “But all the board work and grind time that he did to keep plays alive. We weren’t really sharp early, but after that it took his line and some of our bigger bodies to settle things down and get us back in the game.”
The Oilers basically out-Bruined the Bruins in this one.
“When one guy with that size is playing really well it forces the rest of the size to match it and play that way,” said McLellan. “And I thought we got some good games out of our bigger, stronger players tonight.”
The Oilers have taken hard-fought wins from a number of long-time trouble spots this year, beating St. Louis, Arizona, Detroit and Los Angeles to name a few.
“This was huge for us, this was a really good character game for us and we gutted it out,” said Maroon. “Guys were blocking shots, getting pucks out, getting in shooting lanes. This is a hard place to play, but we gutted it out and got a huge two points on the road.”
The Oilers survived a late scare when the David Krejci scored with two seconds left in a five-on-three at 17:04 to cut the lead to 4-3, but Edmonton withstood a frantic final three minutes to post their 20th win of the season.
“Going down two with a few minutes left, I wouldn’t call it panic time, but it was nail biting time,” said McLellan. “We were lucky to get out of it.”
Bruins coach Claude Julien thinks the Oilers were lucky in more ways than that.
“We were the better team, we played well and I thought we should have won that game,” said Julien. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t have won that game.”
Actually, two reasons spring to mind, right off the bat. Maroon and Cam Talbot, who faced 36 shots in the win.
“It’s called really good goaltending,” said McLellan. “You need it to win in this league. Teams that have it have a chance to win every night. Even when you’re playing your B game your goaltender can step up. Cam has been able to do that.”
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