Oilers edge Canucks 3-2
|Shawn Horcoff battles for the puck in front of Roberto Luongo Wednesday, September 22 at Rogers Arena. (Photo courtesy of Getty Images)
Although the Canucks gave the Oilers a scare by evening the game in the third, the Oilers grind lines came up big to salvage a 3-2 win in Edmonton's pre-season opener.
Linemates Ben Ondrus
, Chris Vande Velde
and Steve MacIntyre
teamed up for Edmonton's first two goals, while Gregory Stewart
scored the game-winner on a breakaway. With a hand in each goal, defenceman Ryan Whitney
led the game with three points.
and Devan Dubnyk
shared netminder duties, with Gerber registering 14 saves and Dubnyk 10.
The Oilers pounced early. With one shot already on the clock, Ryan Whitney
and Ben Ondrus
added two more. Although Roberto Luongo turned away Whitney's shot, the rebound landed right on Ondrus' stick and flew back into the net, giving the Oilers a 1-0 lead.
At the six-minute mark, the teams tested out some fisticuffs when Jake Taylor and Aaron Volpatti dropped their gloves. A few stumbles limited the scrap, but both players earned fighting majors and cheers for their efforts.
Although those penalties were awarded evenly, the Canucks weren't so lucky 19 seconds later when Alexandre Giroux
drew a holding the stick infraction on Sergei Shirokov. The Oilers attained a 9-2 shot lead on that initial powerplay, but Luongo countered each attempt with a save.
Edmonton's top line of Giroux, Shawn Horcoff
, and Jordan Eberle
came close to doubling the lead with six minutes left on the clock, but despite firing and refiring the puck at Luongo, the trio couldn't get it across the line.
The Oilers held their 1-0 lead and until the buzzer and carried a 15-9 shot lead into the second period.
The Canucks pressed hard for an equalizer early in the middle frame, but Martin Gerber
came up with five big saves to keep his club ahead.
Near the game's midway point, the Oil carried play back the other way and increased their lead to 2-0. While Ondrus was sliding into the back boards with a defender, Chris Vande Velde
deflected the puck off the pair and inside Luongo's left post. With assists on the play, Ondrus and Whitney joined Vande Velde in the two-point club.
At that point, with 14 saves to his name, Martin Gerber
exited the net and Devan Dubnyk
Dubnyk made one stop and then watched his club embark on another powerplay thanks to a hooking minor to Andrew Alberts. Although the Oilers struggled on the powerplay, they kept the Canucks from hitting the scoreboard and headed to the final frame with a 2-0 lead.
The Canucks opted for their own goaltending change to start the third, replacing Luongo with Corey Schneider.
Early in the period, Giroux locked legs with Daniel Sedin, sending the Canuck to the ice. Shirokov retaliated and took a roughing minor, but because Giroux was called for kneeing as well as roughing, the Canucks benefited from their first powerplay.
Dubnyk quelled the Canucks rush at first, but one minute into the powerplay, Sedin caught the puck mid-air and redirected it at the net. The puck soared over the goalie and the Oilers' lead diminished by half.
Four minutes later, Edmonton hoped to repay the favour when Victor Oreskovich sat out two minutes. Unfortunately for the Oil, things didn't go that way. After Horcoff narrowly missed a tap-in, Vancouver's Peter Schaefer fooled Dubnyk with a long shot that bumbled over the goalie's glove to tie the game at two.
At the 10-minute mark, the Oilers went back on the powerplay. 1:28 into Edler's penalty, Kevin Connauton added boarding minor to offer Edmonton a 32-second two-man advantage.
Although the Canucks came close to adding another shorthanded goal, Dubnyk kept things even. At 12:43, Whitney cleared the puck and cleanly fed Greg Stewart, who completed his breakaway with a pretty wrister to renew Edmonton's lead.
The Canucks were desperate in the final minutes, and it showed in frantic scoring chances. But big saves and defensive plays kept the home team from evening the game a second time and the Oilers wrapped a 3-2 win in their first pre-season game of the year.