Aside from the stellar play of Laurent Brossoit, the Oilers turned in a disappointing performance on Saturday night as the team lost 3-2 to the Canucks in Vancouver.
Kris Russell gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead just over a minute into the game, scoring the first non-McDavid goal of the season. Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic provided the assists on Russell’s tally, a goal that Canucks netminder Jacob Markstrom would probably like to have back.
At 7:15 into the first, Adam Larsson put the Oilers down a man with an interference call. On the resulting power play, Canucks centre Bo Horvat tied the game on a blazing outside rush, cutting hard to the middle and flicking the puck over Cam Talbot.
The Canucks would take a 2-1 lead less than two minutes after Horvat’s marker, with Brandon Sutter capitalizing on a Russell turnover. Russell bobbled the puck behind the Oilers net, allowing it to roll to Sutter who made no mistake alone in front of Talbot.
The shots at the end of the first were 13-6 for Edmonton, despite the team sleepwalking through what was a sloppy period.
The second frame started off with another goal for Horvat just 33 seconds into the period, increasing the score to 3-1 for the Canucks. Horvat outworked Oscar Klefbom for the puck behind the Oilers net and then tucked it past Talbot on a wraparound play. The play was blown down at first, but was deemed a good goal upon further review from the officials.
Talbot’s night ended there after stopping only four of seven shots, with Laurent Brossoit drawing in to replace him. Brossoit went on to make some fantastic saves, including some while killing off a slashing penalty against Jussi Jokinen.
Late in the second, new addition Ryan Strome took a hard hit from Canucks defender Troy Stecher, neither of which are known for fighting. However, Strome convinced the smaller Stecher to drop the gloves. The scrap ended without many fireworks, but I’d give Stecher the edge on this one.
The Oilers started to wake up in the third, as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored on the power play just after the eight-minute mark to make it a 3-2 game. Patrick Maroon fed a backhand pass from in front of the net to Nugent-Hopkins, who fired home a wrist shot past Markstrom.
Nugent-Hopkin’s goal wasn’t enough in the end, as the Oilers couldn’t tie the game. Despite Brossoit’s heroics, the Canucks, lead by Horvat and Markstrom, handed the Oilers their first loss of the season.
- Laurent Brossoit was fantastic tonight, stopping all 19 of the shots he faced after replacing Talbot early in the second. Brossoit made several huge saves and really did keep the Oilers in this game longer than they deserved. If he continues to play like this, he’ll certainly earn himself more playing time.
- Aside from the Oilers first goal, Jacob Markstrom was equally as impressive as Brossoit. Markstrom stopped 29 of 30 for the Canucks tonight, shutting the door on any chance of an Oilers comeback.
- Bo Horvat had a solid game for Vancouver. With two goals on the night, Horvat was consistently winning battles and using his speed to burn the Oilers.
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had the best game of all the Oilers skaters in my eyes. He brought the same reliable two-way presence that he brings every night, and he managed to score a pretty power play goal to boot. Here’s hoping the Nuge can continue his offensive momentum as the season goes on.
- Tonight was a rare off night for Connor McDavid. McDavid, along with most of the Oilers, looked unfocused an unprepared for much of the game. I’ve never seen Connor have two off nights in a row, so expect him to bounce back against Winnipeg on Monday in a big way.
- Overall, the Canucks impressed me tonight. They played with a lot of speed and intensity, acting like they had something to prove all game long. Add in some great goaltending from Markstrom and the Canucks actually looked pretty good.
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