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Edmonton Oilers vs Vancouver Canucks Post Game Recap: 2 Teams 2 Points Out

The Rundown:

 

The Edmonton Oilers and the Vancouver Canucks did battle again, and both teams came into tonight’s game only 2 points out of a playoff spot in the middle of January. The Canucks kept up their efforts in defying all expectations, while Connor McDavid and the Oilers looked to right the ship against a team they’ve been bested by twice this season. Unfortunately for Canucks fans’ in attendance, both Elias Pettersson and Nikolay Goldobin were out of the lineup tonight, so offense looked to be at a premium.

 

1st Period:

Only 2 minutes in, and the Canucks almost got burned on a broken play. Derrick Pouliot, who turned 25 tonight, watched as the puck skipped past him right to Alex Chiasson, but Jakob Markstrom stood his ground to keep it scoreless. The next 4:30 minutes were pretty tight, and the Canucks’ physical play was evident throughout the beginning stages of the game.

Around the 7 minute mark is where play really picked up, and it all started when Brandon Sutter got struck by McDavid up high which gave the Canucks their first power-play of the game.

A minute into the power-play, and it was the Oilers who opened the scoring. Jujhar Khaira skated up the ice, spun away from a few Canucks defenders, then cut to the middle through Horvat and Alex Edler to open up a shooting lane. Khaira proceeded to snap a shot over Markstrom’s shoulder, far side and in for his first point in 10 games.

The Canucks power-play didn’t let up, and they were able to tie the game less than a minute later. After some good puck movement from the Canucks’ 2nd unit, Sutter snapped a shot past a screened Mikko Koskinen to knot the game up at 1. Credit to Jake Virtanen for his work in front of the Oilers goaltender to provide the screen.

11:30 minutes into the game, and the Canucks saw a great scoring chance slip right through their grasp. The top line of Sven Baertschi, Boeser, and Horvat came down on a 3 on 2 rush, but Horvat slid the backhand across the crease into the corner instead of the net, and the game remained tied at one.

After a commercial break, the Canucks kept up right where they left off. Virtanen created some havoc on 2 Oilers defenders in their own zone, and it led to a superb chance for Sutter to net his 2nd of the game, but unfortunately he rang it off the bar 12 minutes in.

A minute after the Sutter chance, the Oilers hemmed the Canucks in their own zone until Loui Eriksson flipped the puck out of play for a delay of game minor penalty… The Canucks penalty kill came into the game 7 for 7 in their past 4 games, and stood their ground on the Oilers first power-play opportunity to keep the score tied.

Another great chance for the Canucks 17 minutes in on another rush. Josh Leivo entered the Oilers zone, and made a beautiful cross ice pass to Ben Hutton, who immediately fed Marcus Granlund right in front of Koskinen, but he shut the door, with a little help from Kris Russell who pulled the puck off the goal line after the initial stop.

30 seconds later, Antoine Roussel and Matt Benning got entangled in front of the penalty boxes. Some rough stuff ensued, and after everything was settled, it was the Oilers who came away with another power-play, as Roussel received an extra minor for roughing.

McDavid made no mistake on the Oilers 2nd chance of the period, and scored to give the Oilers the lead. The Canucks were caught on a bad line change, and McDavid came in and wired a shot over Markstrom’s shoulder, and far side again. While Markstrom could’ve had the first one, he had no chance on this one and the Oilers had the lead with just a minute to play in the 1st.

Markstrom redeemed himself to end the period, as he made a fantastic breakaway save on Tobias Rieder with just 30 seconds to go, but the Oilers led the Canucks by a score of 2-1 as both teams went to the dressing rooms. Sutter, Virtanen, and Boeser were the most noticeable players of the first period, but all of the chances the Canucks missed had the chance to become the story of the game.

2nd Period:

The Oilers came out guns ablazing to start the 2nd period. Markstrom needed to make 3 quality shots on Adam Larsson, Colby Cave, and Jesse Puljujarvi all within the first 2 minutes.

A minute after the Oilers frantic start, the Canucks saw another great chance stay off the scoreboard. Tyler Motte had the puck sit right in front of him with an open net, but he couldn’t get his stick on it and Koskinen was able to get across and cover it up.

6 minutes into the period, and the Canucks were sent to the man advantage after Leon Draisaitl hooked Troy Stecher in front of the Oilers goal. This was followed by a couple of strong shifts to swing momentum back in the Canucks favour. However, not much happened for the Canucks on their power-play, and they failed to convert.

The Canucks found the equalizer off a broken play just before the halfway mark of the 2nd period. Markus Granlund picked up a loose puck right by the left face-off circle, and wired a shot over the glove of Koskinen and in for his 8th goal of the season!

The next 4 minutes saw the Oilers pressure the Canucks in their own zone. Not a surprise as this game had a back and forth feel to it all throughout, but the Canucks never faltered.

15 minutes into the middle frame, and the Canucks created another mad scramble in front of Koskinen. In the scramble, Caleb Jones put his glove on the puck, and was sent to the box. The Canucks went to their 3rd man advantage of the game.

The Canucks looked much better on this power-play than their last, but the result was the same and the game remained tied.

However, it didn’t take long before the Canucks received another power-play opportunity. 30 seconds after their power-play expired, Darnell Nurse cross-checked Motte at the Oilers blue-line to gift the Canucks another man advantage opportunity.

The Canucks looked to have found the go-ahead goal with the man advantage late in the 2nd, but the goal was overturned when Ken Hitchcock challenged the play for an offside. Upon review, Sutter took the puck in when a Canuck forward was going for a change, so the Canucks goal was overturned. A shame, because it was a beautiful shot by Hutton that beat Koskinen clean…

The power-play, and the period came to a close with the score deadlocked at 2. The Canucks had played well through the first 2 periods, without the production of Horvat and Boeser. Markstrom looked much better in the 2nd period to top it off.

3rd Period:

Unlike the prior 2 periods, the 3rd period started off slow. Both teams played cautiously as to not give up a detrimental goal.

The first real chance of the final frame came exactly 5 minutes in. Baertschi made a great move to the slot, and then fed Horvat with a great pass to the left of Koskinen, but Koskinen slid over and snagged the Horvat one-timer out of the air with his glove.

8 minutes in, and the Canucks found themselves shorthanded for a 3rd time in the game after Edler slashed Draisaitl twice with one hand. The Canucks penalty kill’s biggest test of the game for sure, and they lived up to it. A great penalty kill from Vancouver kept the game tied at 2.

The tight play continued for the next 6 minutes, as these teams hunkered down and attempted to grind each other out.

The best chance of the 3rd period came in the final 30 seconds, as Virtanen picked up a loose puck and rushed in on Koskinen. Koskinen won the 1 on 1 battle, and these 2 teams saw the final frame of regulation come to a close with the score deadlocked. Overtime was in the cards for the fans at Rogers Arena.

Overtime

The extra frame started off slow, but man did it ever pick up as the minutes ticked off the clock. The first great chance of the overtime period came a minute in, when Markstrom made 2 huge stops on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Kris Russell to keep the game alive.

 

Then, in what can only be described as bloody nuts, both these teams exchanged a flurry of chances halfway through the extra frame. It started with a 3 on 1 rush led by Chris Tanev into the Oilers zone. Tanev shot a backhander on net that was stopped by Koskinen, but Sutter was there on the doorstep with an open net. HOWEVER, Nurse flew across and used his skate to save the game, and then fed Draisaitl for a breakaway against Markstrom. Markstrom answered the bell, and denied Draisaitl the game winner.

A minute after the breakaway chance, Horvat came in, unleashed a wicked toe drag to walk right past Khaira, and skated towards the Oilers goaltender, but he was stopped on the backhand.

A ton of chances in the extra frame, but no goal. So this game went to a shootout.

Shootout

The shootout ended up going 5 rounds, and it went as followed.

Granlund missed the net on a backhand attempt.

Nugent-Hopkins was absolutely robbed by Markstrom with his right skate while on his stomach.

Boeser missed the net when he attempted to snipe one past Koskinen.

McDavid couldn’t out wait Markstrom, and was denied.

Horvat attempted a backhand that missed wide.

Draisaitl attempted to beat Markstrom with a shot, and failed.

Leivo couldn’t beat Koskinen five hole, at least he hit the net.

Khaira tried to snap one past Markstrom, but Markstrom didn’t bite.

Roussel came in, but couldn’t get Koskinen to follow him and the goaltender made the easy save.

Finally, Chiasson ended the game with a shot that beat Markstrom glove side to give the Oilers the win.

Advanced Stats

Both photos courtesy of naturalstattrick.com

Wrap Up:

This was a game that could’ve easily gone either way, and full credit to the Canucks for the way they battled hard without Pettersson in the lineup. Some takeaways from the game down below.

While Horvat and Boeser remained mired in an offensive slump, Sutter looked dangerous through the first 2 periods, and should’ve ended the game in overtime if not for the magical skate of Nurse. It was probably his most prolific game offensively since he returned from injury. Virtanen also had himself a good game on Sutter’s line, but unfortunately Virtanen couldn’t break his own slump and get on the score-sheet.

Markstrom had himself another good game, even if the first goal he gave up wasn’t the greatest. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen Markstrom play poorly, and he was solid again tonight. He made a number of key stops all throughout the night, and was terrific in overtime and the shootout. He deserved the win tonight, unfortunately the Canucks offense couldn’t come through.

While I understand the reasoning why Goldobin was scratched tonight, but the offense without him and Pettersson looked simplistic and downright predictable. Couple that with the inability shown by the Canucks to finish a number of great scoring chances tonight and the Canucks had the recipe for disaster. Again, it’s good to see a rebuilding team work this hard to get a point, but the rebuild isn’t over.

 

Fans can look back on this game in a number of ways. They can be disappointed the Canucks lost ground in the playoff race. They can say the Canucks fought hard without 2 of their more prolific offensive weapons and found a way to grind out a point. They can also say that a game like this is a great teaching point for a rebuilding team. All of these points are correct, and while I’m happy with the performance the Canucks gave, I can’t wait to see Pettersson on Friday. (Let me believe he’s coming back on Friday).

The season continues on Sunday when the Canucks will host the Buffalo Sabres.

  • Suddenly goaltending is a strength of the Canucks! Boeser has to shoot the damn puck. Poor Horvat is snake bitten when it comes to getting the puck in the net. Needs a new stick or something. Good team hustle. Goldobin better be watching intently.

    • He’s 4th on the team in points even with the scratches and benchings. You can argue that his poor defense makes him a net negative but he does add offence. He mainly contributes assists rather than goals, but watching that game it really looked like the first PP unit, and Boeser in particular, could have used a playmaker.

        • When you do not play when the gaime is tied are the Canucks are leading (like for example, third periods) in close games, it only figures you will have much better possession number. Same with playing with Pettersson.

  • Slumps happen to the best of them but Bo continues to hustle and will break out. Shotgun needs to turn on the red light soon too but ain’t worried. It’s apparent how different this team is when Petey is in the line up and as any truly great player does he makes everyone around him better. At least the Canucks made EDM work for the 2 pts and didn’t hand it to them on a silver platter like past VC teams would have. The lads continue to hustle. Liked the effort but a point is better than zilch. They stay in the hunt at least.

  • A game that could go either way, but wow that was a pretty horrific set of SO moves. Two shots miss the net and two directly at Koskinen. Goldobin, Eriksson and some of the bottom six get all the criticism but Horvat and Boeser are really squeezing the stick right. No confidence at all in Boeser, you could see that in the two on one with Horvat where he should’ve just shot, or the three other times he came in and just peeled off and wasted a play. Effort’s still there, just need a good bounce or two to break through the slump.

  • Did you even watch the game??? Offense did not look simplistic… bo and boeser looked dangerous all night and had a ton of chances…. just couldn’t finish.

    Great game, cant wait until peteys back!!

    • It was a little strange that Marton followed that comment with…

      Couple that with the inability shown by the Canucks to finish a number of great scoring chances tonight

      So the offense looked simplistic but generated a bunch of great scoring chances. Maybe they should keep the offense simplistic.

      • The offence we are seeing now is what I/many predicted in the preseason. It is predictable and not terribly creative. This team likely would have been bottom five in the league with this lineup. It really highlights the incredible impact Pettersson has had. Hopefully they can recapture it going forward.

    • Did you watch the game last night? Boeser only had one shot on net. Tried a saucer pass to Horvat, when a confident goal scorer would have put that puck in the net. He’s really been missing the net a lot and seems hesitant to shoot the puck sometimes. Hopefully it’s just a confidence issue and not wrist surgery that didn’t heal properly.

      • Totally agree. Boeser was in a fog last night. Hesitant to shoot, shot wide at least 4 times, and made some ill advised passes when he should have shot. Worst of all, in the last minute of overtime, he missed the net with a shot, the Oilers went flying up the other way, and he did not hustle back at all. Nurse was the trailer, and Boeser had barely crossed the red line when Nurse got the puck for an unchallenged chance from the slot. Boeser was totally sea gulling, waiting for the breakaway pass. If Goldobin had done this, he would have been crucified.

  • I thought Markstrom was the difference in the game. It’s slightly early to say this, but together with Petey, his emergence as a legitimate #1 (and not 1A) might be the best thing to happen to the franchise this year.

  • Bowser fallen off a cliff and the Oil looked so much faster and more engaged (30-22 SOG) in this tight playoff-type tilt.

    Guys, how much longer do *paying* fans have to suffer this losing team after FOUR straight seasons of lies and ineptitude with no sign of playoff hockey under Benning who told us with a straight face

    “I like our goaltending, I like our defence now and I like our centre ice. I can’t wait until the season starts.” – Benning

    Well, believe me armchair yappers, around town hockey mad Vancouverites can’t WAIT for it to be over. Even the scalpers are looking for a new gig. Time for change top to bottom, this has gone on for far too long.

      • not true. he’s been using this one for a solid month now at least. Go look on Sportsnet articles and you’ll see he’s on there also, and he used to comment on theprovince.ca sports articles as well using his (supposed) real name as per Facebook. The names may change (depending on which personality has decided to take over momentarily – just like the guy in Split and Glass this friday!) but the tone has and will always give him/her/it away

    • My husband and I share the same sentiments. After many years as seasons tickets holders enjoying a wonderful team, we pulled the plug on Jim Benning’s ‘team’ and have vowed never to renew until he has been relieved of his duties and a new, better direction is undertaken again.

      The lack of entertainment value and a respectable on-ice product after so long makes us feel justified in our decision. Sadly, many posters here seem outraged by those of us who refuse to put up with the status quo after spending thousands under Jim Bennings poor regime.

      Maybe it’s time they put their money where their mouths are then?

      • Betty B! You haven’t used that alias for months, I guess you thought it was time for the “my husband and I” viewpoint, rather than the “my dad says” one you use with Darcy19.

        Sad.

        • It’s one of the feminine personnae of his multiple personality disorder, which is sad given last night’s theme on mental health. It’s actually sad s/he exhibits the symptoms

      • Of course, this is your opinion and right, but to be honest, I actually am enjoying the Canucks for the first time in a long time. We went to the Winnipeg game (paid a lot) and despite the Canucks not scoring a goal, I thought the atmosphere and the on-ice product was terrific – really engaging and entertaining. These are players and a coach and a GM worth supporting (despite the warts and all), especially with Petey et al. Still, it’s your money and there is no chance I could afford season tickets, but if I did have sufficient disposable income, well, then the story might be different.

  • What ever you say about Jim Benning you’ve got to admit he has a giant set of drafting balls.
    Picked Pettersson and everyone went who? What about those bigger safer sure thing picks.
    Drafted Hughes and everyone went, major talent but what about those bigger sure thing picks.
    Dump on him all you want but he has a pair.