Taylor Hall and the Edmonton Oilers were ready to go from the opening faceoff Saturday.
Hall scored twice as the Oilers set a franchise record for the fastest three goals from the start of a game, then completed his third career hat trick before the first period was eight minutes old as the Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 4-0 at Rexall Place.
"That was a pretty electric way to start the game. We played with a lot of confidence," said Hall, whose three goals in the first 7:53 knocked Wayne Gretzky out of the Oilers' record book for the fastest hat trick from the start of a game -- Gretzky did had three goals in the first 12:38 against the Quebec Nordiques on Dec. 17, 1986.
"Any time you can break one of ‘The Great One's’ records is a huge honor," Hall said.
The victory was the third in a row for Edmonton (14-13-7). The Oilers are one of four teams tied with 35 points, one behind eighth-place St. Louis in the Western Conference playoff scramble. The Calgary Flames come to Edmonton on Monday before the Oilers begin a four-game trip.
"We were almost out of it three games ago and now we're right back at the line," said coach Ralph Krueger, whose team beat the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets before stunning the Canucks. "All we can think about is Calgary."
The Canucks had their six-game winning streak snapped and dropped into second place behind the Minnesota Wild in the Northwest Division -- both teams have 44 points, but the Wild have a game in hand. The four goals allowed by Vancouver in the Oilers' first-period outburst were only two fewer than the Canucks had allowed during the six-game winning streak.
"I think we should give credit where credit is due," Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault said. "They came out with a lot of speed and [defensemen] jumping up in the play, and we didn't have an answer, especially against that top line.
"They were so good. They spent most of the night in our end controlling the play. They were dominating tonight."
Hall scored 16 seconds after the opening faceoff, and Ladislav Smid scored his first goal in more than a year with a blast from the top of the left circle at 2:05, sending Cory Schneider to the bench after he was beaten on the only two shots he faced.
But Hall greeted Roberto Luongo by finishing off a quick 2-on-1 pass from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins at 2:43 for a 3-0 lead. The Oilers' previous record for fastest three goals from the opening faceoff was 3:25, set against Colorado on Dec. 16, 1981.
It was also the Oilers' third goal on just three shots -- the last time a team scored on its first three shots in a game was Oct. 14, 2009, when the Dallas Stars did it against the Nashville Predators.
The Oilers got their first power play when Steven Pinizzotto was called for interference at 7:42, and Hall needed just 11 seconds of the man advantage to complete his hat trick. He came off the right wing, moved to the front of the net and knocked the puck through Luongo's pads at 7:53 for a 4-0 lead -- on just five shots.
"It's an embarrassing way to start the game," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said.
The four goals were more than enough for Devan Dubnyk, who stopped all 23 shots by the stunned Canucks for his second shutout of the season and the sixth of his career.
"It was fun to be a part of," Dubnyk said. "We were just doing everything right. We continued to do good things all game."
Vancouver outshot Edmonton 8-3 in the second period and had a pair of power plays but couldn't beat Dubnyk, whose best stop may have come early in the period when he denied Alexandre Burrows on a redirection.
Luongo denied Hall's bid for a fourth goal with a spectacular blocker save midway through the third period. He also robbed Jordan Eberle from point-blank range with just under four minutes remaining.
While he was obviously delighted to play most of the game with a four-goal lead, Krueger was also pleased that the Oilers never let the Canucks get back into the game.
"I liked the way we moved the puck," Krueger said. "Every pass was hard, and there was so much support."
"We stuck with it for all three periods. We outchanced them for three periods in a row, even with that lead. That's showing maturity that we haven't showed maybe as much as we'd like to. It was a very complete performance from the whole group."
Material from team and national media was used in this report.