The Oklahoma City Barons regained first place in the American Hockey League's Western Division Saturday night and their newest player is one of the biggest reasons why.
Magnus Paajarvi, the Sweden native who joined the Barons on Saturday from the Edmonton Oilers, showed why he was the Oilers' first round pick in 2009 by scoring a shootout goal that lifted Oklahoma City to a 3-2 win over the Houston Aeros in a battle for first place.
After some brilliant moves on the ice to deke the goalie, Paajarvi gracefully tapped in the Barons' first goal in the shootout, bringing the 4,425 fans in the Cox Convention Center to their feet.
Gilbert Brule added another to seal the victory as Houston failed to score on Barons' goalie Yann Danis in the shootout. Oklahoma City defeated the Aeros for the fourth time this season and the third straight in a shootout.
“That guy can play and I think he showed it,” said Danis, who witnessed from the opposite end of the ice how Paajarvi got the Aeros' goalie to slide to his right before reaching around and sliding the puck with one hand under the goalie's left leg and into the net.
“It was one of the nicest goals I've seen in a shootout in a long time,” Danis said. “He didn't give the goalie a chance. It was fun to watch.”
Paajarvi, who was assigned to Oklahoma City by Edmonton so he could get more playing time, said it was a move he has used before with success.
“I just made up my mind and went for it and it went in,” said Paajarvi, whose arrival in Oklahoma City created a new buzz in arena Saturday night.