Edmonton. Oilers v Vancouver Canucks - Game One

VANCOUVER, BC – The Edmonton Oilers dropped Game 1 of their second-round series against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night after conceding four unanswered goals over the final two periods in a 5-4 defeat at Rogers Arena.

"I thought we played well until ten minutes left in the third," said defenceman Mattias Ekholm. "I thought we were controlling the action, but that's the emotional ups and downs of the playoffs."

The Oilers took a 4-1 lead with over seven minutes left in the second period off two goals in 45 seconds from Cody Ceci and Zach Hyman, but Elias Lindholm's response with 2:59 left in the frame would begin the Canucks' comeback that would reach a breaking point in the final half of the third.

J.T. Miller scored on a deflection before the midway mark of the final frame to make it a one-goal game before defenceman Nikita Zadorov tied it on a slap shot through traffic on Stuart Skinner's glove side almost four minutes later. Conor Garland gave the Canucks a 5-4 lead just 39 seconds after they tied it, faking a shot and sliding the game-winning goal through Skinner's five-hole with 5:34 left in regulation.

The Canucks score four unanswered in a 5-4 win over the Oilers

"They get three quick ones and then that's the game right there," Ekholm added. "So I think we can be encouraged by how we played for the first 50 minutes. It was a bit of a disappointing ending, but at the end of the day, we know when we're at our best and to that point, I don't think we earned it in the third."

Zach Hyman recorded twice in the defeat and now leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with nine goals, while Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins each recorded a pair of assists to pick up their second and third-straight multi-point efforts in the postseason, respectively. Connor McDavid recorded a helper to stretch his assist streak to six games, but the Oilers captain was held without a shot in a playoff game for the first time in his career.

"No matter what the score is, at the end of the day, it's 1-0 Vancouver and nothing else," said Stuart Skinner, who made 19 saves in the defeat. "I thought we definitely gave them this one, but we know it's going to be a long series. That's how playoffs are. You've got to win four to keep it going, so they're up one right now and we know we can beat these guys. They've beaten us five games in a row this season, but I think that gives us a lot of fire to try to come back and get back in the series right away here."

Vancouver leads the best-of-seven series 1-0 heading into Game 2 back at Rogers Arena on Friday night.

"We learn from it, move on, and there's a new game in two days," Ekholm said. "We still don't have home ice, but we have a new opportunity in two days to make sure that we're even."

Watch the recap of Game 1 between the Oilers & Canucks


For how much the Canucks stressed in the build-up to Game 1 about the importance of not feeding opportunities to the Oilers' power play and their elite stars, the opening 20 minutes was not a strong reflection of their ability to do just that despite them having Edmonton on their heels a few times in the first period.

It was only 40 seconds in when Vancouver went against their own wishes by taking a too-many-men penalty that was caused when defenceman Ian Cole got crossed up on a line change near the benches, giving Edmonton's 9-for-20 power play from the opening round a chance to get started early in a new series.

Vancouver's penalty kill defended the power play well for its first three quarters until it was broken down by a cross-crease pass by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to Hyman at the bottom of the opposite circle, one-timing No. 93's pass beyond the overstretched Arturs Silovs for his eighth goal of the playoffs.

With the goal, Hyman moved back into a tie for the NHL post-season lead in goals with Colorado's Valeri Nichushkin, with his eight tucks through the first six games tying Wayne Gretzky (1983) for the second-most by an Oilers player ever to start a postseason in that span. It was a total that was second only to Mark Messier (nine in 1983) until he retook the playoff scoring lead by equalling his feat with his ninth goal of the playoffs, and second of the game that put Edmonton ahead 4-1 in the second period – albeit only for a short while.

Tony & Jack discuss Wednesday's Game 1 loss in Vancouver

The Canucks responded to their early deficit by ramping up the pressure, beginning to hem the Oilers into their zone with a heavy forecheck and closing down their breakout attempts along the wall to try and extend shifts.

Garland would find himself on a breakaway a few minutes later, but Skinner came up with the biggest of his five saves in the opening frame on the one-on-one by sticking out the right pad to keep his side's slender advantage intact.

Unfortunately for Ian Cole, the Canucks' blueliner would compound his mistakes just inside the final five minutes of the first period when he fired a puck back behind his own team's net that found its way right to Draisaitl, who moved it up top to the blueline for Mattias Ekholm to hammer a one-timer through traffic to double Edmonton's lead to 2-0 before the intermission.

Draisaitl extended his point streak to six games to begin the playoffs after collecting two first-period assists, making it 12 points (5G, 7A) for the German to tie Connor McDavid and Colorado's Cale Makar for the League's playoff scoring lead.

Mattias talks with the media following the 5-4 loss in Game 1


The bounces and the bruises didn't go in Edmonton's favour in the second period despite outscoring the Canucks to take a two-goal lead into the final frame.

Vancouver's first lucky break came on a bouncing puck off the back boards from a shot by Ian Cole that fell kindly to Dakota Joshua at the right post, who accepted the fortunate bounce and buried the 2-1 goal inside the far post behind Skinner to give the home crowd at Rogers Arena something to cheer for just 40 seconds into the period.

"The D are always staying after every practice to take point shots," Joshua said. "Some of them you're looking for the bank, some of them you're looking for a tip. That one just happened to be a bank and it came to me nicely and I was able to catch the goalie out of place."

The Oilers were given a further scare near the midway mark of the frame when Draisaitl came into contact with Tyler Myers near the benches and appeared to come up labouring as he made his way to the bench and began speaking with Head Athletic Therapist T.D. Forss.

The German took a short shift before heading down the tunnel to the Oilers' dressing room and missing the remainder of the period. Draisaitl would return to Edmonton's bench to begin the final frame after dealing with cramping issues, Head Coach Kris Knoblauch said post-game.

Connor speaks with the media following Wednesday's 5-4 loss

The Oilers were able to make do without their superstar and found itself up three with two strikes in 45 seconds from Cody Ceci and Hyman, beginning with the defenceman's slap shot from inside the Vancouver blueline off Derek Ryan's drop-pass that struck Ian Cole on its way through.

Hyman added his League-leading ninth goal of the playoffs less than a minute later, sneaking one under the left pad of Silovs to give the Oilers a three-goal lead that wouldn't last until the intermission after the Canucks got another lucky bounce. With 2:59 left in the period, Elias Lindholm floated a backhand into the crease from below the goal line that struck the stick of Skinner and found its way inside the far post, cutting the Oilers' lead to 4-2 with 20 minutes to play.

Ultimately, it would be the beginning of Edmonton's downfall in Game 1, as things did not get easier on the other side of the intermission when Vancouver ratcheted up their pressure even further in the final frame.

"I thought there were strange goals all around. We scored some strange ones, too," Connor McDavid said. "Kind of a frantic game and you're going to get that,  so definitely some weird ones and some preventable ones, too. But overall, I didn't mind our game."

Stuart discusses his performance following the Game 1 defeat


The Canucks turned Game 1 upside down with a three-goal second half of the final frame that started when Miller redirected Boeser's feed past Skinner from beside the right post during four-on-four with 9:48 gone in the period.

Four minutes later, Zadorov knotted it up at four on a slap shot through traffic that beat Skinner to his glove side. With Edmonton needing to find another gear after giving up their lead, it took only 39 seconds for Garland to carry speed through the neutral zone and avoid the reach of Darnell Nurse before firing the game-winning goal through Skinner's five-hole with 5:34 left in regulation.

"I saw Garland getting a lot of speed through the neutral zone, and then Doc started coming which was great to see, and then he faked the clapper," Skinner said. "I feel like he normally shoots those. He had a pretty good opening, but he held onto it and I lost my patience. I got bit for that, so a lesson was learned for me.

Rick addresses the media after the Canucks 5-4 victory

"I thought individually I played really well up until the third period," he added. "Even in the third, I made some good saves, but I definitely don't like Garland scoring on me like that. But now I know, so it's all good."

Edmonton pulled their goalie with over two minutes left as they chased a late equalizer, but they didn't have much of an answer much like they didn't for the full third period, registering only four shots in the frame as Vancouver was able to see out the final seconds and complete the Game 1 comeback.

"I think a little bit too passive," Knoblauch said. "You look at the goal in the neutral zone and I think we're backing off rather than being aggressive and winning that puck battle. Things also just weren't going our way. Obviously, that wasn't how we wanted to play. I think we could be a little more assertive, and it allowed them to get back in the game."