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GAME STORY: Canucks 4, Oilers 2

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl notched two points apiece but the Oilers allowed four first-period goals against to lose 4-2 to the Vancouver Canucks Thursday at Rogers Place

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Four first-period goals against on six shots was the difference Thursday at Rogers Place, as the Oilers dropped a 4-2 decision to the Vancouver Canucks in their first game back from the holiday break.

Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl notched two points apiece in the losing effort. Both Oilers goals were scored on the power play, with the club ending the night 2-for-3 on the man advantage.

Goaltender Mikko Koskinen made two saves on six shots and Cam Talbot stopped all 14 shots he faced from the second period on.

Edmonton dropped their fourth consecutive game and third straight at home. The club is now 18-16-3.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs VAN 12.27.18

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The Oilers host the San Jose Sharks on Saturday. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 2:08 p.m. MST.

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There were no turkey legs for the visiting Vancouver Canucks, who struck early and late in the first period of the first game back from the break. The club opened the scoring by converting on their opening two shots of the game, making it 2-0 before the midway mark of the frame.

"It was just a tale of two teams tonight," said McDavid. "We made mistakes in the first and in the second we decided to work hard and play the way we need to. We kind of saw both sides tonight."

Tyler Motte corralled an Oilers turnover in the slot and whipped a wrist shot top shelf to score on Vancouver's first shot at 3:48. 

Brock Boeser added to the lead at 6:25 after punctuating a nice passing play orchestrated by his linemates Nikolay Goldobin and Elias Pettersson. Goldobin fed Pettersson heading to the net for a partial 2-on-1 and the rookie extended his stick to open a passing lane for Boeser, who made no mistake for the tap-in. 

"We dug ourselves a big hole there in the first and couldn't finish the comeback," said Draisaitl.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins cut into the deficit on Edmonton's lone power play of the period, burying low blocker on Jacob Markstrom after a setup from the right circle by Draisaitl and McDavid.

Just prior to the Oilers goal, Alex Chiasson was hit with an Adam Larsson point shot in what appeared to be his foot. The winger left to the Oilers Dressing Room and Ty Rattie was promoted to the top line in Chiasson's absence.

Said Oilers Head Coach Ken Hitchcock of Chiasson: "The X-ray was negative but he's very sore right now."

Although it seemed like the Oilers were gaining life and carrying some of the play inside the offensive zone as the period progressed, Vancouver scored twice more in the final two minutes of the stanza. Pettersson wired a short side snipe over Koskinen's shoulder at 18:48 then Antoine Roussel slammed home an unexpected shot from the side of the net just over one minute later to provide the visitors with a 4-1 score.

Koskinen allowed four goals against on six shots in the first, paving the way for netminder Talbot to man the crease to begin the second.

"The last guy you can blame it on was the goaltender... This is on us players, we needed to be better in the first," said Draisaitl in defence of netminder Koskinen, who is now 11-6-1 this season.

Video: Pettersson, Roussel lead Canucks past Oilers, 4-2

The Oilers were relentless in their hunt for the comeback during the second frame, keeping the Canucks to one shot on goal through the opening 10 minutes of the period and pushing much of the play. 

Rattie and Jesse Puljujarvi each dinged the iron, McDavid misplayed the puck on a breakaway and Tobias Rieder was stopped from the slot after Zack Kassian teed him up off the rush.

Edmonton managed to cut the lead in half at 7:05 of the period after Draisaitl notched his 18th goal of the season. The Cologne, Germany, product walked in from the right point and fired the puck far post and in to make it a 4-2 game, where the game would stand to open the third.

"I thought we really dominated the second period," said Nugent-Hopkins. "We just couldn't find more than the one there. It's frustrating that we fell behind the 8-ball so much."

Video: THE OTHER SIDE | Coach Green post-game

Talbot did his best to keep Edmonton within two in the final period. The keeper got his shoulder on Jake Virtanen's rip off a 2-on-1 then was forced to make another stop when Motte barrelled down on a 3-on-1 soon after.

In his final push to tie the game, Hitchcock doled four forwards on the ice with one defender. The Oilers could not find the back of the net, losing 4-2.

The Orange & Blue will attempt to snap their current skid on Saturday when they host the San Jose Sharks.

"The slide started with the injuries (to Oscar Klefbom and Kris Russell)," said Hitchcock post-game. "What we've got to do is just hold steady and see if we can remain competitive. I think we will, especially from what I saw today, and then build it back up as we get moving forward and guys start to come back into the lineup."

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