The Barons and Aeros play again Saturday night, but the rematch is in Houston. After Oklahoma City's 4-3 win Friday night at the Cox Center, both teams loaded the buses and expected to arrive around 6 a.m.
“They're at the end of a long road trip that went through Canada,” said Barons forward Philippe Cornet, who scored his seventh goal of the season. “Maybe it will be tougher for them since we had a week off. It's not easy traveling all night ... but I think we're used to it.”
Teams must take a different approach at the Toyota Center, which has a reputation for soft ice.
“It's humid there. The puck bounces,” said Oklahoma City coach Todd Nelson. “We've just got to keep it simple, get pucks in deep. Bad bounces happen all the time.”
NELSON UPSET WITH FRENETIC FINISH
The Barons led 3-0 after two periods and were in position to take a 5-2 lead late. Instead they had to sweat out the final 69 seconds.
Leading 4-2, Toni Rajala and Antti Tyrvainen had a two-on-one breakaway to an empty net. Rajala passed to Tyrvainen who failed to coral a bouncing puck.
“He heard about it,” Nelson said. “In those situations I want guys to be selfish. Toni could have shot it. We have to bear down in those situations.”
After the missed opportunity, Houston scored with 1:09 remaining to close to within 4-3.
EBERLE STILL LEADS AHL IN SCORING
How dominant was Jordan Eberle during his three months with the Barons?
Despite returning to Edmonton seven weeks ago after the NHL lockout ended, Eberle still leads the AHL in scoring (51 points).
Three players are tied for second in points with 48 — Tyler Johnson of Syracuse, Jonathan Audy-Marchessault of Springfield and former Barons defenseman Justin Schultz.
OIL SPILLS ...
Forward Kristians Pelss suffered an undisclosed injury and didn't make the road trip to Houston. ... Enforcer Erick Lizon, signed two days after Christmas from Wichita in the CHL, was involved in his fourth fight in 16 games with the Barons. ... A second period power-play goal ended OKC's 0-for-11 slump with the man advantage. ... Making his first start in two weeks, goaltender Yann Danis improved to 15-12-3 but was fortunate Houston scored only twice on five Aero shots that hit the post.
By Mike Baldwin