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Ex-Oiler Chris Pronger booed as Anaheim Ducks defeat Edmonton Oilers 3-2

The Canadian Press
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Anaheim Ducks\' Chris Pronger, right, celebrates his team\'s overtime 3-2 victory with Shane O\'Brien, left, Ryan Gretzlaf, centre, and Chris Kunitz, over his teammates from last season, the Edmonton Oilers. (CP PHOTO/John Ulan) Author: The Hockey News

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Ex-Oiler Chris Pronger booed as Anaheim Ducks defeat Edmonton Oilers 3-2

The Canadian Press
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The Anaheim Ducks tied the game with 17 seconds left in the third period before Ryan Getzlaf fired the puck though Dwayne Rolson's legs for a a 3-2 overtime win over the Edmonton Oilers in NHL action. Teemu Selanne and Chris Kunitz also scored for Anaheim while Marty Reasoner and Ryan Smyth replied for Edmonton.

The win snapped the Oilers five-game winning streak.

Fans booed and jeered Pronger every time he touched the puck in the swift-skating, close-checking game before 16,839 fans at Rexall Place.

Edmonton appeared to have the game in hand but the Ducks, with goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere pulled for an extra attacker, scored late in the third as Kunitz grabbed the puck from a goalmouth scramble and backhanded the puck past Roloson.

It's the second time this season the Oilers have fallen to Anaheim.

Reasoner opened the scoring almost eight minutes into the first period. After linemate Raffi Torries dug the puck out of the corner, Reasoner fired a wrist shot from a bad angle over the shoulder of Ducks goalie Giguere.

Edmonton made it 2-0 early in the second when Smyth dug the puck out from behind the net and threw it out front to Fernando Pisani, who backhanded it along the ice through a thicket of players, off Smyth's skate and past Giguere.

When the anti-Pronger boos began to trial off midway through the second period, it was Pronger who reignited them. With the Ducks on the power play, he fired a wrist shot from the top of the right faceoff circle that Selanne, standing at the crease, tipped past goalie Roloson to make it 2-1.

The game did not have a lot of bone-rattling hits but did feature two fights in the second period that went to the home team on points.

Fans roared as Brad Winchester pulled Duck Sean O'Donnell's sweater over his head then proceeded, in hockey parlance, to "start the lawn mower," his right fist a piston-pumping blur on O'Donnell's head.

Minutes later, the Oilers' Matt Greene and Shane O'Brien went at it, with the taller Greene throwing the Duck defenceman to the ice.

Pronger shocked the Alberta capital in June when he asked for a trade but refused to publicly say why. Many felt betrayed by the six-foot-six, 220-pound defenceman, who was the driving force behind an Oiler team that came to within one game of winning last spring's Stanley Cup.

Fans in Oiler jerseys and garish blue wigs booed him when he touched the puck in the pre-game warmup, rising up to shout "You suck!" and flash homemade signs in angry shades of neon green and orange when he swooped near the Plexiglas in his new white jersey with the trademark duck-webbed D.

The signs were comical to angry:

"Tell the Truth, Chris," read one.

"The Gap in Your Story is Bigger Than the Gap in Your Teeth."

"Chris: 1985 Phoned; They Want Their Hair Back."

During the game, they serenaded Pronger with chants of "You Sold Out!" along with a mournful drawn-out "Prawwwwnnnngerrr!" When he got his assist, they loudly compared him to the hindmost part of the human anatomy.

They even booed Ducks Samuel Pahlsson and Joe DiPenta when they momentarily mistook them for No. 25.

The 32-year-old former Hart Trophy winner didn't appear fazed and never looked beyond the ice surface.

He had been the talk of the city for almost a week before the return trip. Fans began chanting "Pronger sucks!" in the closing minutes of last Friday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Speaking to the media Monday, Pronger reiterated that his personal reason for leaving would stay personal.

He said he understood if fans wanted to vent their collective spleen: "They're passionate about their team and they can't understand why I'm not here."

He has been all-gold for the Ducks. He leads all defencemen in the NHL with 27 points (four goals, 23 assists). His plus-16 rating is second only to the plus-23 of Detroit's Nicklas Lidstrom.

The Ducks defeated Edmonton in their first matchup 6-2 on Oct. 25. Pronger had three assists in that game.

Notes: Slick playmaking Oiler winger Ales Hemsky left in the first period with a shoulder injury and didn't return. . . . Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer played in his 1,000th NHL game and got a rousing cheer from the fans when it was announced . . . Oiler defenceman Steve Staios was scratched because of a sprained knee . . . Security at the rink was tight as one drunk and apparent would-be streaker was foiled. He was led away shirtless, clad only in peacock-blue underwear and black socks.

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Ex-Oiler Chris Pronger booed as Anaheim Ducks defeat Edmonton Oilers 3-2