There were some serious NHL bodies on the ice for both the Canucks and Oilers on Wednesday night in Edmonton as the home team picked up the overtime victory 2-1. Some guy named Connor McDavid scored the game winner on a breakaway 55-seconds into the extra session as defenceman Quinn Hughes and Vancouver failed to execute a line change.
“Huggy” was the lone goal scorer for Vancouver in the second period on the power play at 10:22. Three-and-a-half minutes later, Ryan Nugent Hopkins tied things up for the Oil.
Hughes played a team high 24:10 while Andre Kuzmenko, who picked up one of the assists on Hughes’s marker, led the Canucks forwards with 20:22 of ice time, 2nd most on the team. Elias Pettersson also picked up an assist on a goal that deflected in off Edmonton defenceman Evan Bouchard.
It was somewhat typical preseason hockey, although there were some worthy notes.
“We had two really good practices the last couple of days and it kind of helped our game today, it was a good effort,” Vancouver head coach Rick Tocchet said postgame.
Recently acquired Canucks back-up goalie Casey DeSmith looked good, stopping 27 of the 29 shots he faced. He didn’t have much of a chance on McJesus’s juke move on the game winner.
He didn’t have much chance on RNH’s goal either, as the lanky, veteran forward ripped one home from the slot.
Desmith arrived on September 19th from the Montreal Canadiens in the deal that sent veteran forward Tanner Pearson and a 2025 3rd-rounder the other way.
“He looked big out there tonight,” Tocchet said.
DeSmith and the rest of the Vancouver penalty killers held the lethal Oilers power play off the board with Edmonton going 0-for-4. Yes, it’s not the regular season, but the big boys were on the ice for the opportunities.
The Oilers power play finished at 32.4% last regular season.
Tocchet thought veteran forward acquisition Teddy Blueger played very well in that capacity, performing as if it was a regular season game.
The coach also felt Dakota Joshua responded to the challenge laid down on Tuesday, when he called on the big forward to up his game. “A step in the right direction” Tocchet called it.
With what will likely be a very modified line-up, the Canucks visit the Seattle Kraken on Thursday night at the Climate Pledge Arena. Vancouver then hosts the Oilers on Saturday night.
— The Nerve-racking Canucks Deja Vu Factor