Hockey royalty came together Friday night in Edmonton to honor the architect of the dynasty-day Oilers, Glen Sather.
All of the Oilers’ Hockey Hall of Fame members, with the exception of Wayne Gretzky, were in attendance on a special night when Sather was honored by his former team and current team with a pre-game banner-raising ceremony. Players like Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey, etc. paid tribute as Sather’s banner, featuring the five Stanley Cups he won in Edmonton, was lifted to the rafters of Rexall Place. I’m not old enough to have experienced the dynasty days in person, but I know Sather played an integral role in shaping the history of hockey in Edmonton.
I’m sure these legends appreciated the game that unfolded last night, as it became an instant classic.
It seemed as if the current Edmonton Oilers and New York Rangers squads were inspired by the history, as they did their best to re-enact a 1980’s-style shootout thriller. The Oilers and Rangers combined for 12 goals. The Oilers came out on top 7-5 in a fitting tribute to Sather, who managed the highest-scoring teams in NHL history.
The game involved multiple leads and multiple come-backs, and the seesaw action made it all the more exciting. I can say one thing: I know Lauri Korpikoski won’t soon forget the festivities, as he netted his first NHL hat trick. I’ve always thought Korpikoski was a solid NHL player. I think his addition was one of the more underrated moves made by the Oilers this offseason, especially if he can rediscover the offensive consistency he enjoyed earlier in his career.
“It was a fun night for sure; it reminded me of one of those ’80s games where it was high-scoring,” said Korpikoski, who began his NHL career with the Rangers in 2008. “The puck just seemed to follow me around tonight. It was one of those nights where everything was going in and I’m happy for getting the goals. It was one of those games where you didn’t know what was going to happen on the next shift. It was one of those games where it was goal after goal.”
I say this almost every day now, but Taylor Hall has emerged as the true leader of the Edmonton Oilers this season. He demonstrated this perfectly last night.
After Rick Nash tied the game at 5-5 with a power-play goal at 18:14 of the third, I was worried Edmonton would let this one slip away, which would have really stung after such a great effort.
But that worry lasted all of 12 seconds.
Off the ensuing faceoff, the Oilers came in 2-on-1 and Hall fired a pass from Leon Draisaitl right past Antti Raanta, who replaced Henrik Lundqvist earlier in the third period. This was Hall’s second goal of the game and 14th of the season. It was also the game-winning goal. He finished with four points (two goals, two assists).
This game was extremely thrilling for the fans. I know I didn’t sleep properly last night because I was so pumped with excitement! Any time your team wins in this fashion, of course, it’s extremely exhilarating. This is especially true when you haven’t seen hockey like this in a decade and your team is riding a five-game winning streak because of it.
You could not write a more fitting script for a special night honoring hockey legend Glen Sather. This night will live on forever…
Featured Image Credit: Andy Devlin-Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club