A couple weeks ago the Oilers knocked off the Canucks in the season opener and for a least one period tonight looked like they might repeat the feat in front of their home town fans. But a two goal lead at the midway point of the second period proved to not quite be enough to hold the Cancuks, who took 34 shots after the first period, at bay. Perhaps most frustrating is that the Oilers got so close tonight, surrendering the tying goal with just over two minutes to play. It wasn't a game that the Oilers should have won but it was a game that they could have won. And the Oilers just can't afford to pass up that many points.
- After killing an early penalty - a Nail Yakupov penalty for delay of game - the Oilers got a power play of their own and promptly put on a clinic on how not to enter the zone with the man advantage. I've mentioned before that the zone entries for the first power pay unit have left a little to be desired so far this season but in this case it was both units that looked awful combining to go 0-for-8 when attempting to enter the Cauncks zone. The Oilers also had the puck cleared twice after losing the faceoff and iced the puck once as well. It was ugly in so many ways.
- The power play might not have been wonderful in the early going but the Ryan Nugent-Hopkins trio did still manage to create a little excitement in the first period. Matched head-to-head with the Sedins for a faceoff in the Canucks end of the rink, the Oilers Young Gunz got control and simply did not give it up. In the sequence that followed Justin Schultz was credited with three attempted shots, one of which got through to Roberto Luongo, as the Oilers cycle kept the Canucks pinned in their own end. You've probably seen the Sedins do this to the Oilers about 1,000 times, it was very nice to see the reverse and is hopefully a glimpse of the future.
- The lone goal of the period came on the Oilers second power play of the night off the stick of Ales Hemsky. Yakupov attempted to dump the puck into the corner to Luongo's left but misfired on the play. Hemsky simply left Alex Burrows in his dust as he drove to the slot, picked up the loose puck and pulled it around Luongo sliding it into the back of the net. The kids are new and exciting, Hemsky is just plain exciting.
- Some bad news for the Oilers in the second period as Mark Fistric didn't return to the bench. In the first period Fistric tried to hit Jordan Schroeder but missed, hitting the boards hard. Fistric went immediately to the dressing room missing the last eight minutes of the first period as well. The official word was a back injury but his back wasn't what hit the boards. The Oilers defence isn't exactly pretty any way and with only five guys on the back end the Canucks really took control of the play outshooting the Oilers 16-4 during the second period.
- Jeff Petry had another excellent game tonight as he continues to shine on the Oilers blue line. He made a great stretch pass to Magnus Paajarvi and then topped that with an even better play in the second period. The play started with a nice takeaway from Henrik Sedin in a one-on-one situation in the Oilers end, before taking the puck and hitting Yakupov with a great pass to the far blue line. A suspect tripping call would negate the chance for the Oilers but still, a hell of a play by Petry.
- It's strange how things work though. The penalty call was terrible but the Oilers would extend their lead to two goals while killing it off, I'll take that trade off. Anton Lander grabbed the loose puck just inside the blue line after Kevin Bieksa missed the Alex Edler pass up the board and got the puck down to Ryan Smyth in front of the net. Smyth got rid of the puck right away and it hit Edler before curling around Luongo and just inside the far post. A bit of an early Brier preview for the fans in Edmonton.
- More bad news for the Oilers to start the third period. With Eric Belanger already out with an injury the Oilers lost the services of their captain, Shawn Horcoff, for the third period after he blocked a shot with his hand late in the second period. The Oilers, including Horcoff, were terrible in the faceoff circle tonight. Nugent-Hopkins went 6-for-19, good for 32% and was better than both Horcoff, 3-for-13, and Sam Gagner, 3-for-15. On the other side of the dot the Canucks had Burrows go a perfect 7-for-7 and Henrik Sedin put up an 18-for-23 mark.
- The finally tally on the shot clock tonight was 25 for the Oilers and 40 for Vancouver. This marked the third straight game, and fifth time in six, that the Oilers have been outshot by a double digit margin. As has been the case on a number of nights early this season, Devan Dubnyk was a major reason the Oilers even had a chance to win. That said the Canucks first goal squeaked between him and the post as he appeared to be playing the pass and came off the post early but, ugly as it was, that was the only puck that got past him for nearly 58 minutes until a shot from Bieksa tied the game at 2 with 2:17 to play. Dunbyk looked a little awkward on the goal and so I think it might have gone off Hall in front; at the very least Hall made seeing the shot virtually impossible for Dubnyk.
- In the overtime period Taylor Hall gave the Oilers their best chance to salvage the second point when he got behind the Canucks and was awarded a penalty shot after Daniel Sedin hooked him. Hall opted to shoot to the stick side and was easily turned away by Luongo keeping the score tied at 2.
- In the last minute of the game the Canucks managed to get the Sedins on the ice against Yakupov and Jordan Eberle. That's a tough matchup for the Oilers in a four-on-four situation and the Canucks capitalized with Chris Tanev scoring the game winner, his first of the season too, with 20 seconds left on the clock. Eberle gets a little greedy on the play, floating out of the Oilers zone looking for the breakaway pass. It looks like he thinks Yakupov is going ot stay on the right side giving the Oilers an even matchup with the Canucks but Yakupov slides to the left side, the Canucks gain control of the puck, and the game is over just that fast.