The Canucks, debuting their much advertised American Express line, ended their modest two-game winning streak, losing 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place Tuesday night.
After a promising start to the game, with the newest Canuck David Booth, acquired in a trade with the Florida Panthers on Saturday, registering the first shot of the game and the AMEX line buzzing, most Canucks fans were picturing a storybook start with his new team.
But five minutes and two seconds to start the second period was the difference, and all the Oilers needed as they scored three goals in that span, putting the Canucks in a familiar position this season - playing catch-up.
Not only did the Oilers manage three quick second period goals, but they also chased starting goalie Roberto Luongo from the contest after he allowed, three goals on 14 shots.
At that point the Canucks woke up and started to play, tilting the ice towards the Oilers end.
The Canucks finally solved Nikolai Khabibulin with eight minutes to play in the second period, as Cody Hodgson buried a sweet feed from Alex Edler to bring the Canucks within two.
Edmonton nearly made it a three-goal cushion again with a laser off the stick of Taylor Hall only to be denied by the iron.
Vancouver started to come in waves after the Hall chance, but didn’t have much of answer to the guy they call the Bulin Wall. It wasn’t until there was 12 minutes left to play in the third that Henrik Sedin picked up a Sami Salo rebound and neatly dropped it for Alex Burrows who put it between the legs of Khabibulin to cut the lead to one at 3-2.
With the Canucks pressing to tie it, the Oilers got a chance against the flow of play and thought they had another one, but Cory Schneider made the save of the game, sprawling to his left to thwart Jordan Eberle on the goal line and keep Vancouver’s deficit at one.
Could the comeback kids do it again? Would Booth get his chance to play hero in his first ever game in a Canuck uniform?
Not on this night as the youngsters from Edmonton closed out the game and spoiled the debut of Booth with his new all-American line mates.
Not that it was due to lack of effort on the Canucks part as they outshot the Oilers 37-22, but it wasn’t enough as Khabibulin was yet again a wall for his Oilers.
The Canucks are not the only team this season that has had troubles solving the Bulin Wall, as he has been at the top of league in goals against and save percentage to start this year’s campaign.
Schneider made eight saves on all eight shots he faced in mop up duty for Luongo.
The Canucks don’t have long to dwell on this loss as they are back in action Wednesday night against the St. Louis Blues at Rogers Arena.
-Only Henrik Sedin failed to register a shot against Khabibulin in the game.
-Corey Potter played a game high 27:37 of ice-time, recording an assist and 4 blocked shots.
-38-year-old veteran Khabibulin is second in the league in goals against with a sparkling 0.97 and third in save percentage with a .963.
-Keith Ballard logged 12:52 of ice-time, his second lowest of the season.
-Tuesday’s game marked the seventh time Canucks have surrendered the opening goal.
-David Booth played 15:49 in ice-time and registered three shots.