Vancouver Canucks, Ian Cole

Resilient And Determined Canucks Beat Oilers 4-3

The Vancouver Canucks worked their arses off for 60-minutes and it paid off, beating Edmonton 4-3. They’re 2-and-0 on the season with two wins against the allegedly vaunted Oilers.

If someone told you the Oilers would go 2-for-7 on the power play with 36 shots-on-goal and lose … you’d probably call them kooky, but that’s exactly what happened.

Canucks 1st Period

Everyone knew it was coming. After losing 8-1 in Vancouver on Wednesday night, there was no doubt the Edmonton Oilers would come out flying in their home opener.

It took Leon Draisaitl 42-seconds to put the Oilers on the board, assists to Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Zach Hyman.

The shots quickly piled up to a six-one advantage for Edmonton.

No biggee.

The Canucks rode it out. Not only that, they would turn the tables and take a 2-1 lead before the period was over, holding Edmonton to zero shots over the final 12 minutes.

With Hyman off for holding, Andrei Kuzmenko would tie the game on the power play at 9:25. At this point, through the first four periods of the season, the Vancouver man advantage had gone 4-for-7.

Nils Höglander would put the Canucks on top at 17:51 with a tip-in of a Brock Boeser shot.

2nd Period

The speed and energy never relented, with sustained pressure at both ends. Most of it unfolded in front of Canucks goalie Casey DeSmith. He was challenged with traffic; exactly how Connor McDavid scored at 1:45 on the power play. The puck came out of a pile to number-97 standing alone in the lower left wing circle. Tie game.

No biggee.

Vancouver would answer in :51-seconds on a rare 2-on-0 led by Elias Pettersson. Two Canucks skated in alone, Petey slid the puck over to Jack Studnicka, who snapped it five hole on Stuart Skinner. 3-2 VAN.

That’s when Edmonton turned up the pressure to a different level, resulting in three more Vancouver penalties in the period. They’d click on the one of the power plays; Nugent-Hopkins at 9:29.

After a period that saw the Oilers outshoot the Canucks 18-6, the score was tied 3-3.

3rd Period

Overall shots entering the third period stood in favour of Edmonton 26-13.

No biggee.

The Canucks had survived and were one shot away from taking their 3rd different lead of the night.

They would get that shot from their latest acquisition Sam Lafferty, who showed some power as he went to the net, around Oilers D-man Mattias Ekholm. He drove hard and chipped the puck past Skinner. 4-3 Vancouver.

Uh oh. At 7:02 Vancouver defenceman Filip Hronek went off for high sticking.

At 8:10, Vancouver forward Phil Di Giuseppe went off for delay-of-game, providing Edmonton a 5-on-3 for 52-seconds.

No biggee.

With the 5-on-3 portion killed off, McDavid ended up taking an interference call when he knocked over Pettersson, nullifying the remaining power play.

DeSmith was up to the task in the closing moments with the net empty at the other end.

Shots on goal: Edmonton with a large advantage; 41-16. Power Plays: Vancouver 1-for-3, Edmonton 2-for-7

The Canucks head east with four more games on their road trip.

Canucks 3 Stars:

1) Casey DeSmith – Withstood multiple onslaughts, head on a swivel. Stopped 38 of 41 shots.

2) J.T. Miller – Forget points. Miller abused McDavid, had eight hits and led the forwards in ice time.

3) Nils Höglander – For value, as in production versus time-on-ice, ‘Hoagie’ is the man. A goal, assist, 3 hits, 1 shot in 8:14 of ice time.


— Canucks Game Day 2: No Demko, Skinner Starts, Special Teams Flip

— Canucks NHL Friday; Injuries, Who’s Who Of Ex-‘Locals’

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.