Instant Reaction: Canucks beat Oilers 3-1, can clinch Pacific Division title Tuesday vs. Calgary

Photo credit:© Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
12 days ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give you our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Wyatt Arndt is on The Stanchies and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning.
We’ve known for a while now that the Vancouver Canucks would qualify for the 2024 Stanley Cup Playoffs. For almost as long as we’ve known that, the Canucks have also sat atop the Pacific Division standings.
It’s been getting way too close for comfort lately though, as the Edmonton Oilers have been nipping at the Canucks’ heels and threatening to usurp them for that Pacific Division title. No matter what anyone on the team says, choking away the title in the final week of the season is an absolutely brutal vibe to head into the playoffs with.
The Canucks need to finish strong to win the Pacific, and a win over the Oilers tonight would certainly help them do that.
Let’s get into this game!
The Oilers picked up the first power play of the game after JT Miller got his stick in Vincent Desharnais’ skates and was called for the trip.
Edmonton got some good chances off on the power play, but Casey DeSmith was sharp early on and turned away every chance he faced. The Oilers were all over the Canucks early on.
Both teams were coming off overtime losses to the Arizona Coyotes, and both teams were competing for top spot in the Pacific Division. But early on, it seemed like the Oilers were the only team that got the memo.
The Canucks poured on the pressure late with some strong offensive zone time that ended when the puck got to Ilya Mikheyev. That’s obviously become a trend this season, but it wasn’t all Mikheyev’s fault. Stuart Skinner made his nicest save of the period when he absolutely robbed Mikheyev on this shot after a strong forechecking effort from Teddy Bleuger.
Sam Lafferty scored late in the first period to open the scoring in this one.
Casey DeSmith undoubtedly deserves the bulk of the praise for the Canucks coming out of the opening period with a lead, as the Canucks’ netminder turned away
A Tyler Myers penalty gave the Oilers a power play early into the second, but an Edmonton bench minor with 17 seconds remaining on the power play gave us a brief period of 4-on-4 before the Canucks got a chance to get to work on the power play.
They didn’t manage to score, but they did keep up the pressure, and it resulted in a Pius Suter goal to put them up by a pair halfway through the second!
That’s a nice zone entry and pass by Tyler Myers, capped off by an even better deflection by Suter to put the puck past Stuart Skinner.
So far, so good on the Canucks’ battle for the Pacific Division crown.
The Oilers weren’t going away quietly though. Evander Kane brought Edmonton within one before the end of the second period when he tipped home a Darnell Nurse wrist shot.
The third period was a high-intensity back-and-forth affair. As this game went on, I became more and more hopeful that these teams would eventually meet in the second round of the playoffs. Especially given how boring any game involving the LA Kings is, a spirited bout with the Oilers was nice to see. And the fact that the Canucks swept the season series vs. Edmonton certainly helps too.
As time dwindled down, the Oilers continued to press. It was a thoroughly entertaining game, and more importantly for Canucks fans, it ended in a Canucks win after Dakota Joshua sealed it with an empty netter.
The Canucks can now clinch the Pacific Division with a win over the Calgary Flames on Tuesday night. They control their own fate, and have staved the Oilers off for now. This is a huge win for this team, full stop.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!
And when you’re done doing that, tune into the Rink Wide Vancouver post game LIVE with Jeff Paterson and Farhan Lalji! You can watch and interact with them in the YouTube live chat below:

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