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Oilers' skid hits four with loss to Canucks

by Derek Van Diest

EDMONTON -- Vancouver Canucks defenseman Yannick Weber picked an opportune time to score his first goal of the season.

Weber's third-period goal settled a back-and-forth affair and gave the Canucks a 5-4 win Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place.

Weber jumped into a rush and converted a pass from Daniel Sedin at 11:32 of the third period to give Vancouver its fourth win against Edmonton this season.

"We had a good breakout that allowed me to kind of sneak in the backside and be part of the attack," Weber said. "Daniel, with his skillset, he's going to outwait that D-man sliding, and for me, it's just a matter of going to the net and putting my blade there. It was a good play and I was happy to get my first one."

Weber's goal stood up as the winner after Oilers left wing David Perron had an apparent tying goal waved off with 10.1 seconds remaining for kicking the puck into the net.

Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller made 28 saves to extend his career winning streak against the Oilers to 11 games.

"It was kicked and the rule says if it doesn't hit another player and it only hits me, it's no goal," Miller said. "That's what the rule is there for, you can't pick up your skate blade in the crease and make a kicking motion, so I think it's the right call."

Radim Vrbata scored two goals for the Canucks; Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen also scored for Vancouver.

Steve Pinizzotto, Teddy Purcell, Boyd Gordon, and Andrew Ference scored for the Oilers. Goalie Ben Scrivens stopped 26 shots for Edmonton, which is winless in its past four games and has yet to defeat a Western Conference opponent this season (0-9-1).

"We didn’t play well enough to win," Gordon said. "That's kind of been the story of the last few games. We've been inconsistent and we haven't been able to find a way to push the game the other way. Until we do that, we are going to have a tough time winning games."

Hansen opened the scoring on a shorthanded breakaway 15:41 into the first period, when sent in alone by Canucks center Shawn Matthias.

Vrbata increased the Canucks' lead 2:02 into the second period, three seconds into a power play, stepping into a shot dropped back to him off a faceoff.

Pinizzotto cut the lead to 2-1 at 4:43 with his first NHL goal. Pinizzotto intercepted a clearing attempt at the Canucks blue line and snapped a shot past Miller.

Higgins restored the Canucks' two-goal lead at 9:39, benefiting from an Oilers turnover and firing a shot past Scrivens.

"It was a tough game. Edmonton's got a good team, they play hard and they have some talent there and they're really hard to contain," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "They feed off turnovers and that and they're pretty opportunistic. They're a tough team to play. They kept coming back and [Daniel Sedin] made a good play on the wall and [Weber] went to the net so it was a big goal for us. They had some momentum and in a game where we played pretty well in, we just couldn't get away from them."

Purcell scored two seconds into a power play at 11:32 on a shot off a faceoff, cutting the lead to 3-2. Gordon tied the game 11 seconds later getting to a turnover in the Canucks zone and beating Miller from a sharp angle.

Before the end of the period, Vrbata scored his second of the game at 17:10 on a point shot on the power play to give the Canucks a 4-3 lead.

Ference tied the game at 6:21 of the third period on shot from the point that found the net through a maze of bodies in front of Miller.

"This is our fourth one-goal game," Ference said. "We keep finding ourselves on the wrong side of the ledger and all too often chasing from behind. A bit of frustration builds with that. It's not fun losing one-goal games, that's for sure."

The only point the Oilers have been able to earn against their own conference came in a shootout loss to the Canucks early in the season. It appeared they would earn at least another until Weber scored the game-winner.

"The guys who have to be critical for us right through our lineup, the forwards and some of our D, they weren't there [Wednesday]," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "They showed sparks of coming, but for whatever reason, they couldn't get it done. The guys we rely on less played well. Your key guys have to be your drivers every night, and it wasn't just two or three. We had a number of guys struggle through different portions of the game. It's disappointing. You want the points. We have to find a way to be on the other side of the one-goal games. It is something we will continue to strive to do."

The Oilers host the New Jersey Devils on Friday in the fourth game of a five-game homestand. Vancouver returns home to play the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday.

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