DeSmith oilers

The Vancouver Canucks picked up a big win in Edmonton on the back of good goaltending and depth scoring.

Casey DeSmith stopped 32 of the 33 shots he saw on Saturday night while Sam Lafferty and Pius Suter chipped in, and Dakota Joshua sealed the game with an empty net goal to give the Canucks a 3-1 win and gain a big two points in the Pacific Division standings.

The defence tightened up in the third period and only allowed eight shots on net. After making some big saves on 13 shots in the first period, DeSmith spoke highly of how the team played in front of him during the final 40 minutes of play.

“Thankfully, I was up to the task early and then the guys really carried it in the second two periods,” said DeSmith. “We really used our speed, used our legs and I thought we played great.”

Lafferty, who scored the game’s opening goal was pleased with how the team adjusted from their first 10 minutes of play and got back to their structure in the final 40 minutes of the game.

“We stuck with it,” said Lafferty. “It wasn't our best start, but I thought after the 10-minute mark, we started to pick up some momentum. On the goal, [it was] just a good change and then Z made a good play in the neutral zone, and I had some open ice, [there were] good drives by the other guys and [I] just took the shot.”

“We got obviously great goaltending tonight from Casey,” he continued. “We stuck to our structure. It wasn't a perfect game by any stretch. We know to rely on our structure when we have a lead.”

Head Coach Rick Tocchet was pleased with his team and how they limited a potent Oilers club that is the second-highest-scoring team on home ice this season.

He also liked the way his group stuck to their structure and thought that they did a solid job building momentum in the final stages of the opening period. Tocchet credited his netminder for keeping them in the game early.

“The first seven or eight minutes, they had a couple of those high tip-shots, and I thought Casey made a couple [saves] that were big for us,” said Tocchet. “And then I think our last five in the first kind of gave us confidence and then in the second we were better. I credit that first seven minutes, [to] Casey. There were some high tips they had that if they go in there, maybe it's a different game.”

Game Recap 

The first period was full of big hits and scoring chances and nearly went a full 20 minutes without a goal until Sam Lafferty flew down the right wing and ripped a wrist shot that beat Stuart Skinner and gave the Canucks a 1-0 lead with 16 seconds on the clock.

Pius Suter added to the Canucks lead when he redirected a pass from Tyler Myers and gave the Canucks a 2-0 lead with nine minutes to play in the second period.

Edmonton punched back when Evander Kane tipped in a Darnell Nurse point shot and cut the lead to one goal with just over two minutes remaining in the second period.

The third period was a grind, but the Canucks were able to defend their crease and DeSmith stopped all eight of the shots he faced in the third period.

Dakota Joshua rushed up the ice and found the yawning cage to make it 3-1 with just under two minutes to play and that iced the game.

The Canucks return to Vancouver with a five-point lead in the Pacific Division and, in their 80th game of the season, will battle with the Calgary Flames at Rogers Arena on Tuesday at 7 pm PT for Fan Appreciation Night.