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Canucks edge Oilers in SO

by Janelle Kidd / Vancouver Canucks

A thrilling end to a hard-fought game and the perfect way to head into the All-Star Break.

With a little help from their All-Stars including shootout goals from Alexander Edler and Cody Hodgson the Canucks claimed a 3-2 win over the Oilers at Rogers Arena Tuesday night.

The result of a solid 60-minute effort from the Canucks, the shootout victory sends them into the break on a positive note.

“It was obviously a pretty entertaining game, there was a lot of flow and a lot of rush opportunities from both groups," said Alain Vigneault. "This is a game where you saw speed and skill of some of Edmonton’s younger players. So it was entertaining, a good goaltender battle and we were able to get it done in a shootout this time.”

After the first 40 minutes both teams emerged with a goal each to show for their efforts.

Vancouver's top line looked back to form tonight, controlling the puck and connecting crisp passes, and it wasn’t long before it paid off. Daniel Sedin opened scoring halfway through the first period, converting a pass from Alex Burrows for his 21st goal of the season to give the Canucks a 1-0 lead.

Horcoff responded for the Oilers to tie the game at 9:43 in the middle frame.

Five minutes into the third period David Booth put the Canucks up 2-1. It seemed like his goal would stand as the game winner, until Taylor Hall on the powerplay tipped the puck past Roberto Luongo to tie the game back up at 15:49.

The tight matchup saw the Canucks hit at least four posts and face an Edmonton squad that diligently blocked a total of 23 shots. But the Canucks stuck to their disciplined game plan and continued to press.

The pace quicken dramatically to close out the final minutes of regulation and carried over into an epic overtime period during which the Canucks peppered Devan Dubnyk with eight shots.

Again playing the hero role, Hodgson scored the winner in the fifth round of the shootout, lifting the Canucks to victory.

“I think you give [the Oilers] credit, we liked out game tonight," said Kevin Bieksa who finished the game a plus-2 and led the team with over 26 minutes of ice time. "We played pretty consistent and we didn’t give them a whole lot. They had some shots on net but we felt like we were pretty tight. They’ve got some highly skilled guys so they got some chances, but it was a close call game. To win these close games is huge for us.”

Making his fifth straight start, Roberto Luongo played a key part in the win. Keeping the game close he turned away 30 shots, posted a .938 save percentage, and stood tall in the shootout.

Having won four of their last six games, the Canucks are now only three points back of the Western Conference leading Detroit Red Wings.

The Sedins, Edler and Hodgson are now headed to Ottawa for the 2012 NHL All-Star Game, while the rest of the team enjoys some time off. The Canucks return to action on January 31 when they play host to the Chicago Blackhawks.

Booth Continues Full Speed Ahead

David Booth's third period goal was his eighth of the season and third in three games. Tonight was his fourth game back since returning from a knee injury.

"He’s been playing well for us, it’s fun playing with him," said Ryan Kesler. "He’s a straight ahead player that generates a lot of speed and goes to the net hard. That’s what that goal was just a lot of speed and going to the net hard.“

A native of Detroit, MI, Booth is playing like he hasn't missed a game and has picked up right where he left off with his linemates, Kesler and Chris Higgins who both assisted on his goal tonight. The trio also combined for nine shots.

In 23 games with the Canucks since joining the team from Florida in October, Booth has eight goals and eight assists.

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