EDMONTON - Taylor Hall had three assists to hit 80 points on the season as the Edmonton Oilers celebrated veteran forward Ryan Smyth's final game in style, coming away with a 5-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.
The win moved the Oilers up a draft spot, as they leapfrogged the Florida Panthers into 28th place overall with Tuesday's NHL draft lottery looming.
The fans, however, were more interested in seeing Smyth go out on a win after a career that saw him total 386 goals, 456 assists and 842 points in 1,270 career games. Smyth, was unable to get the power-play goal that would have given him the franchise record, remaining in a tie with Glenn Anderson at 126 for his career.
Smyth was loudly cheered all night and no show of respect could have been bigger than the Canucks players coming back out on the ice to shake his hand after the final whistle, before the sobbing Alberta native said goodbye to his coaches and teammates.
Edmonton started the scoring just 2:14 into the game as Steven Pinizzotto made a pass from behind the net to Horak in the slot and the recent AHL call-up rifled his first of the year past Canucks starting goalie Jacob Markstrom. The assist was Pinizzotto's first-career NHL point.
Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens withstood a barrage of early shots to keep Vancouver off the board and as a result Edmonton made it 2-0 with seven minutes left to play in the first. Nugent-Hopkins was able to get the puck to a pinching Petry in front and he beat Markstrom high to the glove side for this seventh of the year.
Vancouver out-shot the Oilers 18-5 in the first period.
Oddly enough the Oilers also scored 2:14 into the second period to make it 3-0 as a Philip Larsen shot hit a stick in front, but the clearing attempt went directly to Acton, who zipped home his third of the season.
The Canucks got on the board five-and-a-half minutes into the second as Scrivens attempted a diving poke check on Matthias, but the momentum carried the puck into the net anyway to make it 3-1.
Edmonton made it 4-1 with four minutes left in the second as Eberle tried to hit Smyth in front for this record-setting power-play goal, but the puck caromed in off defender Alexander Edler instead.
The Oilers took a four-goal lead a minute-and-a-half into the third period after a Martin Marincin shot created a scramble in front and Canucks defender Nicklas Jensen inadvertently chipped the puck off the skate of Nugent-Hopkins and in.
The Canucks made the score look a little better with a goal by Kassian with just 11 seconds left in the game.
Vancouver out-shot Edmonton 42-22 overall.
The Canucks still have one game left to play before their season is officially over, returning home to play the Calgary Flames on Sunday. Edmonton is now officially done, missing the playoffs for a league-high eighth straight season.
Notes- It was the fifth and final game of the season between the divisional rivals. The Canucks won the first three games by a combined score of 12-3 before Edmonton won the fourth match-up 4-2 on Jan. 27… Smyth concluded his NHL career after spending 15 of his 20 seasons in the league for the Oilers, ranking second on the franchise's all-time list with 971 games played. He was given the Oilers captain's 'C' for the game… It was Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 21st birthday… College free agent forward Michael Zalewski, who signed with Vancouver on Mar. 14 after playing this past season with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, played his first NHL game... Out for the Canucks were defencemen Christopher Tanev (broken fingers) and Andrew Alberts (concussion) and center Mike Santorelli (shoulder surgery)… Absent with injuries from the Oilers lineup were forwards Sam Gagner (ankle), Nail Yakupov (broken ankle), Ryan Jones (torn PCL), Boyd Gordon (shoulder), Jesse Joensuu (high ankle sprain) and Luke Gazdic (shoulder), as well as defenceman Andrew Ference (pectoral tear).
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