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game recap

Horvat lifts Canucks past Oilers in season opener

Forward scores twice to help Green win coaching debut

by Kevin Woodley / Correspondent

VANCOUVER -- Bo Horvat quickly erased any memories of his scoring slump at the end of last season.

After not getting a goal in the final 17 games, Horvat scored twice on Saturday to help the Vancouver Canucks give Travis Green a win in his coaching debut, 3-2 against the Edmonton Oilers in their season opener at Rogers Arena.

"You always want to start off hot, you always want to start off strong," said Horvat, who signed a six-year, $33 million contract on Sept. 8. "It definitely helps my confidence."


[WATCH: All Oilers vs. Canucks highlights]


Brandon Sutter also scored and Jacob Markstrom made 33 saves. It was Vancouver's first regulation win over the Oilers since Nov. 19, 2014; Edmonton had been 9-0-2 against the Canucks since.

"It gives our group a lot of confidence," Horvat said. "We beat a pretty good team over there." 

Kris Russell and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for the Oilers (1-1-0), who were coming off a 3-0 win in their season opener against the Calgary Flames on Wednesday.

Cam Talbot made 27 saves to shut out Calgary but was pulled after giving up three goals on seven shots when Horvat scored from a bad angle for a 3-1 lead 32 seconds into the second period. Laurent Brossoit stopped all 19 shots in relief. 

"[Talbot] wasn't sharp, the team wasn't sharp, trying to change things," coach Todd McLellan said. "We were going to play a cute, control-type game and they played a scrappy, hard game, and by the time we figured that out it was a little too late."

Video: EDM@VAN: Sutter capitalizes off turnover behind net

Connor McDavid, who had a hat trick against Calgary, was held without a point for the first time in 16 regular-season games dating to March 12. Linemate Leon Draisaitl also was held without a point after two assists in the opener.

"I didn't think they got a lot done," McLellan said. "Their play was east-west at the blue line instead of straight attack at the net. When they get desperate at the back end of it they were much better, but we can't just rely on those two every night."

Russell gave the Oilers a 1-0 lead on their first shot 1:08 into the first period, matching his goal total in 68 games from last season.

Horvat tied it 1-1 with a power-play rush at 7:35, and Sutter gave Vancouver a 2-1 lead 1:54 later after Russell had the puck bounce off his stick behind the net and into the low slot.

Nugent-Hopkins made it 3-2 with a power-play goal 8:09 into the third period, but the Oilers only generated one shot on another power-play chance six minutes later and finished 1-for-5.

"Our power play was abysmal," McLellan said. 

Video: EDM@VAN: Markstrom stretches to make great pad stop


Goal of the game

Horvat scored his first goal by beating defenseman Matt Benning wide with speed and lifting a shot over Talbot's shoulder in tight as the goalie reached for a poke check.

"We were working hard in the off-season with my power skating coach and trying to get faster off the ice," Horvat said. "Speed's a huge part of the game nowadays."

Video: EDM@VAN: Horvat drives to the net for PPG


Save of the game 

With Brossoit pulled for an extra attacker and 39 seconds left, Oscar Klefbom fired a point shot that Markstrom pushed left before having to throw his right pad back the other way, almost in the splits after it deflected to his right.

"They had a lot of bodies in front of the net and I think it hit two guys. It was just desperation at that point," Markstrom said.

Video: EDM@VAN: Markstrom stretches to make great pad stop


Highlight of the game 

Horvat didn't appear to have any room inside the post but somehow the puck snuck in under the toe of Talbot's left pad, ending the goalie's night with the eventual game-winning goal.

"I didn't know it went in," Horvat said. "Everybody started coming towards me and celebrating so I just put my hands up and went along with it."

Video: EDM@VAN: Horvat nets wraparound for his second goal

They said it 

"Their chances, not only were they grade-A, but they were triple-A, and I thought [Brossoit] played tremendous. He kept us in it and gave us a chance to the bitter end." -- Oilers coach Todd McLellan


"I thought we had a [heck] of a game against a real good hockey team. It got a little helter-skelter there at the end, which it usually does in a one-goal game, but it was a good team effort." -- Canucks coach Travis Green


Need to know

Rookie Edmonton right wing Kailer Yamamoto, who had seven points (five goals, two assists) in six preseason games, was a healthy scratch after playing on the second line in the opener. … Rookie right wing Brock Boeser, who led the Canucks with seven points (four goals, three assists) in preseason, also was a healthy scratch.


What's next

Oilers: Host the Winnipeg Jets on Monday (9 p.m. ET; SNOL, TSN3, NHL.TV)

Canucks: Host the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday (10 p.m. ET; SNV, TSN5, RDS, NHL.TV)


Video: Horvat, Markstrom lead Canucks to 3-2 victory

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