The Oilers hosted their division rivals, the Vancouver Canucks last night. The Canucks are a much better team than the Oilers. You know that and I know that. On the off chance anyone in the building had somehow forgotten that fact the visitors provided a nice refresher course as they dominated the Oilers, handing the home team a lopsided 5-2 loss.
Games against teams against other Canadian teams always get the fans in Rexall Place excited. It's fun to be in the building even if you know that a large group of the fans isn't cheering for the Oilers and the rest are just trying to drown that group out. Unfortunately when the visitors score on the first shift of the game it's tough to put on a brave face and support the beloved blue and orange as they struggle to simply keep their heads above water.
As already mentioned the Oilers gave up a goal on the first shift of the game when Daniel Sedin found his brother wide open for a tap in at the side of the Oilers net. It was an ugly start for the home team as Alex Burrows was nearly sent in a breakaway and the both Oiler defenders - Ladslav Smid and Jeff Petry - then followed the puck into the corner leaving Henrik Sedin open for one of the easier goals he'll ever score.
Going from bad to worse the Oilers would find themselves down two men against the leagues best power play a few minutes later. The Canucks wasted little time scoring the game's second goal just 22 seconds into the 5-on-3 opportunity off a Sami Salo shot from the slot. The Oilers hadn't even recorded a shot at this point and were already down 2-0. Later in the first period Canucks fans were again on their feet when Manny Malhotra appeared to have extended the Canucks lead to three but this one was thankfully called back after video review.
Things got better for the Oilers in the second period starting with the decision to replace Nikolai Khabibulin with Devan Dubnyk and then getting a goal from Shawn Horcoff just over a minute into the period. After Tom Gilbert kept the puck in at the blue line he got the puck to Ryan Smyth at the side of the net who then made a nice pass into the slot to the Oilers captain for his eleventh goal of the season.
From here the Oilers actually looked better and controlled the play for a good portion of the period but were unable to score the equalizer and as the period went on Kevin Bieksa and Chris Higgins would score goals 1:39 apart giving the Canucks a 4-1 lead. Magnus Paajarvi, who played another very solid game, would get one of those goals back before the second period ended when he slapped home an Ales Hemsky pass for his second goal of the season.
Any dreams of the third period comeback were quickly dashed when the Oilers again failed to get through the first shift of the period without giving up a goal. Gilbert and Horcoff couldn't connect on a five foot pass in the Oilers end and the Canucks pounced on the turnover and Daniel Sedin scored on a slapshot. From there all that was left to do was finish my beer and listen to the many Canucks fans enjoy their team beating up on an overmatched Oilers squad.