Instant Reaction: Vancouver Canucks fall 4-3 to Edmonton Oilers in overtime grindfest in game two

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
David Quadrelli
1 month ago
Welcome back to Instant Reaction — the series here at CanucksArmy where we give our instant reaction to the game and ask our readers to do the same in the comments section below! Cody Severtson is writing The Stanchies tonight and Mike Liu will have The Statsies — CA’s analytics-based post game report — up tomorrow morning.
Heading into the night, much of the discussion among Canucks fans was about… the officials tonight.
More specifically, Kelly Sutherland, who has a long history with the Canucks franchise. Sutherland was the official who assessed Daniel Sedin a penalty after Brad Marchand used Sedin’s head as a speedbag during the 2011 finals. Sutherland made a couple of crucial calls that went against the Canucks during the 2013 playoffs, as well.
The games since haven’t been pretty — and it was true heading into tonight too. The Canucks were 0-7-1 in their last eight games that Sutherland officiated heading into tonight.
This isn’t to start the night by making excuses, and complaining or worrying about the refs before puck drop seems like a loser mentality.
I only bring this up because we were certainly expecting to see more than one penalty called tonight. The Oilers’ power play is 10-for-21 in the playoffs, and after converting on their only power play opportunity in game one, they were batting 1000 heading into this evening’s tilt.
So how did the Canucks fare? Let’s find out!
The first penalty call of the game went in the Canucks’ favour, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was called for hauling down Nikita Zadorov.
The power play wasted little time before they opened the scoring, with Elias Pettersson successfully entering the zone before JT Miller fed him with a cross-crease pass that Pettersson one-timed into the back of the Oilers’ net.
The Oilers were hellbent on not losing the even strength matchup and getting their top guys going, so they loaded up the first line with Connor McDavid flanked by Zach Hyman and Leon Draisaitl.
The trio had some sustained pressure in the Vancouver end, but the Canucks’ fourth line — and the Lindholm line afterwards — did a good job of blocking shots and keeping the Oilers’ top gunners to the outside.
Tyler Myers took the first penalty of the game just under ten minutes into the first, and Arturs Silovs was the star of the Canucks’ penalty kill.
That was right up until Leon Draisaitl eventually broke through. The Oilers’ power play is simply too good.
The special teams battle was dead even in this one early on, and the Canucks certainly wanted to keep it that way.
Elias Pettersson set up the Canucks’ next great chance of the game, and although Ilya Mikheyev didn’t even come close to finishing it off, Pettersson got the puck back, took a shot on Stuart Skinner, and then drew a holding penalty on Ryan Nugent-Hopkins once again.
Corey Perry had some words for Pettersson after the penalty, which was really helpful to me personally, because I forgot he was even on the Oilers until that moment.
The Canucks’ power play didn’t look particularly dangerous on this one, and their second unit featuring Sam Lafferty and Carson Soucy didn’t spark much. The Canucks got no shots on that power play, and Silovs made one last great save before the end of the period as the two teams left tied up at one.
Side note from the first: Connor McDavid sure does whine to the officials a lot.
The second period started with offsetting minors, as Nils Höglander interfered with Derek Ryan at the end of his shift, leading to Ryan slashing Höglander where the sun don’t shine.
JT Miller won the ensuing faceoff at four on four, and Carson Soucy let go of a point shot that Brock Boeser tipped home to make it 2-1. The Oilers scored on the very next shift, however, after the Canucks were too lackadaisical in their own end at breaking the puck out.
This one was tied at two.
The Canucks looked much better territorially in the second period than they did in the first, which was certainly a good sign. Although the Oilers looked like the better team in the first, it was all Canucks early on in the second. They were better on the forecheck, better at breaking the puck out, and all around were the better team. Still, the margins in this game were razor-thin and it was anyone’s game.
In the final parts of the second period, the momentum shifted in the Oilers’ favour, as the Canucks all of a sudden had trouble breaking the puck out against Edmonton’s bottom six.
Edmonton went back to the power play with over five minutes remaining in the second, but Zach Hyman was caught red-handed for holding Tyler Myers’ stick, putting the game back to four on four.
The refs completely missed a high stick on Quinn Hughes that should have been a four minute double minor assessed to Connor McDavid.
Instead, chaos ensued as Hughes wore a hit in the neutral zone and was doubled over at the Canucks’ bench. It seemed like all the momentum was in the Oilers’ favour, and then Nikita Zadorov did what he’s done all playoffs long — just shoot the puck.
Thankfully for Zadorov, the Oilers started Stuart Skinner tonight.
Pius Suter took a late penalty for hitting Connor McDavid a bit late, giving the Oilers a late power play, the majority of which they’d get in the third period.
Connor McDavid hit the post behind Silovs 30 seconds into the third period, but the Canucks’ goaltender was quick in coralling the rebound and preserving the Canucks’ one goal lead. That was a big kill for the Canucks.
Back at even strength, the Oilers managed to break through after Carson Soucy stepped up at the Edmonton blue line and missed his check. Tyler Myers then gambled and lost, leaving Connor McDavid all alone on a breakaway that number 97 was not going to pass up.
Following the tying goal, the Canucks were hemmed in their own end for stretches of time, and Arturs Silovs came up big for them on multiple occasions down the final stretch.
This one remained an absolute grind in every sense of the word, and the final half of the third period basically felt like an Oilers power play, as the Canucks struggled mightily to even move the puck out of their end with any sort of control.
The Canucks bent but didn’t break, and this one was headed for overtime.
Just over five minutes into overtime, an Evan Bouchard point shot deflected off of Ian Cole’s stick and gave the Oilers the victory.
4-3 final.
What’s your instant reaction to tonight’s game? Let us know in the comments section below!
Be sure to tune into Rink Wide Vancouver with Jeff Paterson moments after the final whistle. You can interact with the host and your fellow Canucks fans in the YouTube live chat and have your voice heard while getting all the information you need to know following the game! Watch below!

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