The Edmonton Oilers are a mess and the Vancouver Canucks are better for it, beating their division rivals for the third time in a month. The final score on Monday night at Rogers Arena went in favour of the home team, 6-2.
At one point in the first period on Monday night, Edmonton had a 19-2 shot advantage and a one-nothing lead on a power play goal by Mattias Ekholm. Unfortunately for the visitors, periods last twenty minutes, not ten.
After an Oilers blown backcheck, a semi-soft goal on netminder Stuart Skinner, and a converted Vancouver man advantage, suddenly the Canucks had three goals in 3:22 and a 3-1 lead.
We can’t forget Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko, who kept his club in it during the Oilers early shot onslaught.
It’s what his fans and teammates have come to expect when he’s healthy.
For all of the early desperation and pressure, the Oilers eventually melted away. Racked by errors and plagued by awful body language, their frustration and that of their captain Connor McDavid seemed palpable.
The Oilers cut into the lead on a weird goal, one that likely involved a missed call.
Demko came out of his net to play a puck behind the right post. After he shuffled it gently aside for his defenceman, he turned and stood his ground below the goal line as Oilers forward James Hamblin came by and clipped him. With the puck loose and Demko down behind the net, Leon Draisaitl potted the puck to cut into the lead, 3-2.
Shortly after, the real Oilers returned.
Remarkably, off a lost draw in the offensive zone, Edmonton gave up a quick, easily developed 2-on-1 that led to Nils Höglander scoring as the unchecked trailer on the play. “Hoagie” cashed in on a rebound on what turned out to be an elongated give-and-go with Sam Lafferty, who cruised up the left wing boards after Höglander had chipped the puck out of the Canucks D-zone.
That restored Vancouver’s two-goal lead, 4-2.
The Oilers thought they had scored one minute into the 3rd period to make things interesting, but during a scramble in the crease it turned out Warren Foegele kicked the puck in. No goal.
Frustrations bubbled over 5-and-a-half minutes into the period as McDavid cross checked J.T. Miller in the side of the head after McDavid failed to score on a short-side move to the net. The scrum resulted in no call to the Oilers captain, but minors to Miller and Edmonton’s Zach Hyman.
A minute later, same thing. A chippy McDavid started another incident. This time he picked up a minor while his linemate Draisaitl earned a ten minute misconduct. Hyman, sitting next to them, looked like he wished he still played in Toronto for the Maple Leafs.
On the ensuing Vancouver power play, Miller’s wicked slapper put the game away at 12:10.
Brock Boeser added a PP goal in the final minute, his 10th goal of the season.
Shots on goal finished in favour of the Oilers, 42-35. Power plays: Edmonton 1-for-3, Vancouver 3-for-6.
The Canucks have beaten the Oilers three times this season and outscored them 17-6.
To add insult to injury, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft took a minor penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct on the bench in the closing minutes and got tossed. GM Ken Holland was sitting upstairs and didn’t look too happy.
Canucks 3 Stars:
1) Quinn Hughes – The NHL’s 1st Star of last week kept it going with a goal and three assists.
2) Nils Höglander – Finding his game, Hoagie scored a big 2nd period goal after starting the play.
3) Thatcher Demko – Kept the Canucks in the game during the Oilers 20-shot 1st period.
— Another remarkable “Simmer and Gabby” podcast featuring former Canucks head coach Bruce Boudreau …