The Edmonton Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks in a thrilling 2-1 victory on Saturday night. Leon Draisaitl and Warren Foegele netted a pair of power-play goals while Mikko Koskinen was excellent, turning aside 29 of the 30 he faced.
Connor McDavid’s multi-point streak came to an end, but the Oilers regained their winning ways after dropping their first of the season against the Flyers last Wednesday. The win improves Edmonton to 6-1-0 on the season, just a point behind the division-leading Calgary Flames.
It might’ve been a low-scoring game but it definitely wasn’t a low-event game. Here is the skinny on how we got to the final score...
A game against the Vancouver Canucks might not inspire the same energy as a Battle of Alberta, but you wouldn’t know it by seeing how this one started. Both teams were absolutely flying as they were trading chances at each end.
The Oilers would take control once getting a bit more settled. Duncan Keith had the first big chance after hitting the post on a point shot. Jesse Puljujarvi would swing things into Edmonton’s favour after drawing the game’s first penalty on a Tyler Myers hook.
The top unit had a few decent looks but was unable to cash in. That didn’t stop the second unit from making an impact as Warren Foegele crashed in his second of the year on a rebound to get the Oilers ahead 1-0. There was a second left on the penalty so this one counted as a PP goal.
A few shifts later Puljujarvi added a second post to the Oilers sheet on an absolutely wicked one-timer courtesy of McDavid. The shot was labeled for the back of the net and Puljujarvi was visibly frustrated...good to see some of that passion from the big Finn.
The Canucks weren’t no-shows this period. Conor Garland in particular had a few decent chances on the net. Luckily, Koskinen was up to the challenge and the Oilers head into the second period up 1-0.
Vancouver got as close as you could possibly get to getting the equalizer just a few minutes into the middle frame. Oliver Ekman-Larsson let loose a cannon from the point that beat Koskinen, rang off the crossbar, and rode the iron before hitting the right-side post. I was expecting a buzzer to stop play but the replay confirmed it never entered the net.
That chance kicked off the tone of the period as the Canucks started to push on the Oilers. That high-flying hockey that gave Edmonton the momentum in the first seemed to disappear. The passing got sloppy and the time spent in their defensive end increased.
That being said, the score still favoured Edmonton as the period entered its dying minutes. The Oilers caught a break late as Ekman-Larsson high-sticked Yamamoto and sent them to their second power-play of the game. Like clockwork, that would all it would take to give the momentum back to Edmonton as Nugent-Hopkins found Leon Draisaitl for a patented one-timer goal.
The goal came in the last minute and was the only one of the frame as Edmonton entered the third with a 2-0 lead.
Is it a requirement to start each period with a good chance? This time it was the Oilers who almost got on the board in the opening minutes. After a fantastic shift keeping the puck in the Vancouver end the puck landed on McDavid’s stick in tight. The captain had multiple cracks on net but couldn’t elevate it above the pad of Thatcher Demko.
Zack Kassian followed that up with a breakaway on the ensuing shift that was cut short by a backchecking Tyler Myers.
McDavid came into the period determined to put together his seventh consecutive multi-point game. Demko, however, was a man possessed and stonewalled the NHL’s leading scorer on a few grade-A scoring chances in the first half of the period.
Things got stressful as the Canucks pulled Demko with over four minutes left in the game. They had a 6-on-4 power-play chance that saw Koskinen stand on his head to keep Vancouver off the board.
The shutout would eventually be spoiled with just five seconds remaining as a defensive breakdown gave Brock Boeser all the time in the world to pick a corner.
It wouldn’t matter as the Oilers killed the last seconds off the clock to take home the 2-1 victory!
- I have to give credit to Thatcher Demko in the Vancouver net. He had a fantastic night and was the only reason Connor McDavid didn’t put up five points in this one. He had the captain's number all night long. Keeping McDavid to just one point is a feat in itself.
- Speaking of goaltenders, Mikko Koskinen followed up a questionable performance against the Philadelphia Flyers with a solid outing tonight. He was great all night long and came up HUGE with a few spectacular saves on the late penalty kill. He deserved the shut-out.
- It feels nice to look at the scoresheet and see names that aren’t McDavid or Draisaitl. Warren Foegele played probably his best game as an Oilers tonight. He was relentless on the puck and he was rewarded with a goal in front of Demko. I also thought Kassian had a lot of jump in his game.
- I like to keep things light, but I thought Darnell Nurse had a very bad night. Multiple giveaways leading to chances against and took a penalty when the Canucks were pushing late in the game. Not a good look for someone set to be among the league’s highest-paid defenders next season.
- Special teams were as good as you could possibly want them to be. The power-play saw both units get on the board and go 2/2 while the Oilers employed a stingy, yet stressful, PK on their only kill of the game.
- I thought this was a pretty decent game all-around for Edmonton. Outside of a stretch in the second, I thought they kept the offensive pressure up and were fairly decent in their own end as well. You might wanna see a few 5-on-5 goals there, but a win is a win!
- The Oilers improve to 6-1-0 on the season and will look to continue their hot start to the season as the Seattle Kraken visit Edmonton this Monday!