Advantage Oilers: Edmonton Takes Two in Boston : Stanley Cup: Jari Kurri has hat trick in 7-2 victory to become leading postseason goal scorer. He also ties single-game record for a final with five points.
This time, it didn’t take six periods.
It didn’t even take three.
The Stanley Cup finals segued from one of its more memorable games to one of its more forgettable Friday night at Boston Garden as the Edmonton Oilers, led by Jari Kurri’s record-setting hat trick and five points, defeated the Boston Bruins, 7-2, in Game 2 of the best-of-seven series. Edmonton had won the opener Tuesday night in triple overtime.
Games 3 and 4 will be played Sunday and Tuesday in Edmonton.
The Oilers blew Friday’s game open with four second-period goals and coasted through the final 20 minutes.
While this game may not rate high in NHL history, it has to rate at the top in the Kurri chronicles.
Not only did he score three goals. Not only did his five points tie a Stanley Cup final mark.
But Kurri also broke a tie with former teammate Wayne Gretzky to become the league’s leading postseason goal scorer.
And he did it all on his 30th birthday.
Kurri’s wife, Tiina, had filled his hotel room in the afternoon with so many balloons that Kurri complained, “I couldn’t move.”
That certainly wasn’t his problem Friday night before a sellout crowd of 14,448.
Kurri began the night tied with Gretzky at 89 playoff goals each.
--No. 90 in the first period. Camped to the right of the net, Kurri redirected a shot by Esa Tikkanen for a goal to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead after Adam Graves’ earlier score.
--No. 91 in the second period. It broke a 2-2 tie after goals by Boston’s Ray Bourque and Greg Hawgood. Kurri took a pass from Tikkanen and fired from the top of the right circle, the puck dribbling through goalie Andy Moog’s pads.
--No. 92 in the final period on a power play long after the issue had been all but finalized.
Kurri, of course, was thrilled.
“It is one of those days,” he said, “that I’m going to remember the rest of my life.”
But he also took time in the packed locker room to praise the man he had passed.
“He’s the guy,” said Kurri of Gretzky, with whom he played for eight seasons before Gretzky was traded to the Kings. “When he left, I realized I had to change. He was the best playmaker in the league.
“Gretz did a lot for me. I’m just happy to be up there with those guys. But you never know with Gretz. Next year, he might pass me.”
Asked if he and Gretzky had talked about the record, Kurri replied: “He’s a busy man. He’s on vacation. I’m a busy man. I’m here. But I’m sure he’s happy for me.”
Kurri may soon be on vacation as well if this series continues to go as it has.
He may have been in the spotlight Friday, but Edmonton goalie Bill Ranford was again on the spot.
Ranford, who played all 115 minutes and 13 seconds in Game 1 and stopped 50 of 52 shots, stopped 25 of 27 Friday, keeping his team in the game when it could have easily slipped away early.
The Oilers were outshot, 10-2, in the first period but scored on each of those shots.
When Kurri broke the 2-2 tie with Edmonton’s third goal, it came on the Oilers’ fourth shot.
Enter Boston backup goalie Reggie Lemelin.
The Oilers scored three more goals--by Craig Simpson, Tikkanen and Joe Murphy--in less than four minutes to all but settle the issue.
And that doesn’t include a penalty shot missed by Petr Klima. Given an open net when he faked out Lemelin, Klima fanned on his swing. The shot had been awarded when Lemelin threw his stick at the puck.
“As incredible as Game 1 was,” Boston Coach Mike Milbury said, “this one was equally incredible. For us to look up at the 30-minute mark and be behind was virtually unthinkable. We dominated every facet of the game with the obvious exception that Andy wasn’t sharp.”
Kurri took the puck away from defenseman Don Sweeney to set up Edmonton’s fourth goal.
“We blew our composure when it was 3-2,” Milbury said. “Understandably, our guys, as much as we tried to settle them down, felt they had to get it back immediately, and I lost them at that point. We started to make foolish mistakes, turnovers.
“Instead of being a tight-checking team, we became a team that was trying to create too much, manufacturing plays at the offensive blue line when they weren’t there. We tried to handle the puck far too often and, as a result, turnovers came about. Edmonton is the best team in the league at capitalizing on turnovers. We blew our composure.”
Which gave Kurri the perfect way to blow out his birthday candles.
Stanley Cup Notes
Jari Kurri became the sixth player to score five points in a Stanley Cup final. The most recent was Toe Blake for the Montreal Canadiens against the Chicago Blackhawks in 1944. . . . Boston’s Dave Poulin left the game after only 49 seconds, following a hit by Mark Messier, and never returned. Poulin suffered a mild knee sprain.