BOSTON (AP) - Patrick Maroon interrupted his scoring onslaught to accept an invitation to fight 6-foot-9 Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara.
“‘Z’ asked me to go. I respect ‘Z.’ I said, ‘Yeah,’” Maroon said on Thursday night after scoring his first career hat trick to lead the Edmonton Oilers to a 4-3 victory over Boston.
“He’s a big man. I really don’t enjoy doing it. You kind of face it. I kind of knew going in there I wasn’t going to come out with a ‘W’ so I just kind of show up.”
Chara might have gotten the better of Maroon in the first-period fight, landing at least two solid hits to the head, but the 6-foot-3 Oilers forward won the scoring battle. He scored 68 seconds into the game, added another in the middle of the second and then made it 4-2 with nine minutes to play.
Only about a half-dozen hats came onto the ice for the visiting Oilers, and they were quickly picked up by the officials.
“Growing up and when I first stepped into the league, I never thought I’d score an NHL hat trick for a big guy like me,” said Maroon, who had just his fourth career multigoal game. “But I did it, and my linemates were really good tonight.”
Cam Talbot stopped 33 shots for the Oilers, who have won five of their last eight. Edmonton took a 4-2 lead into the final four minutes before David Krejci scored on a rebound of Patrice Bergeron’s shot in the last two seconds of a 5-on-3 advantage.
But Talbot killed off the rest of the power play with the Oilers one man down. He then blanked Boston for another minute with goalie Tuukka Rask pulled for an extra skater.
Bergeron and Colin Miller also scored for the Bruins, and Rask stopped 21 shots.
The night opened with a ceremony to honor “the ultimate Bruin,” former Boston captain, coach and general manager Milt Schmidt, who died on Wednesday at 98.
Schmidt’s No. 15 was painted on the ice behind the nets. The Bruins also wore patches on their sweaters in memory of the hall of famer.
The Bruins dipped Schmidt’s retired No. 15 from the rafters in the pregame ceremony and played a video of his career highlights. In lieu of the usual moment of silence, the announcer asked for “a moment of celebration and applause,” and the crowd responded.
But a little more than a minute after the ceremony ended, Connor McDavid slid around Chara and sent a backhand pass to Maroon, who one-timed it past Rask’s right skate.
“It’s a goalie’s nightmare,” Rask said.
Boston tied it seven minutes later when Miller’s slap shot from the right point went in off Talbot’s pad. The Bruins took a 2-1 lead midway through the second when David Pastrnak found Bergeron in the slot, and he wristed it in on the stick side.
But the Oilers tied it with seven minutes left in the second on another goal from Maroon, who backhanded it under Rask’s right pad. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins broke a 2-2 tie just 14 seconds into the third.
Notes: Bruins F David Backes sat out his third straight game with a concussion. He practiced on Wednesday. … A dozen or so people, including many media members, were stuck in the elevator from the press box to the locker rooms after the game. … The Bruins had won nine of the last 11 times the Oilers visited Boston, but Edmonton won last season’s meeting.
Oilers: Visit New Jersey on Saturday for the third stop in a four-game road trip.
Bruins: Visit Florida on Saturday, the first of two in a row on the road.
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