Nugent-Hopkins and Klefbom strike but the Canucks notch three unanswered in the third period for the comeback victory
VANCOUVER, BC - The Oilers are coming home for Christmas.
Just not with two points in the gift bag after the club had a 2-1 lead overwritten by a three-goal 3rd period by the Vancouver Canucks, causing a 4-2 final before the National Hockey League's three-day holiday hiatus.
The Oilers return to action on Friday for their first date with the Calgary Flames. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 7:08 p.m. MT.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins notched an equalizing goal with a great individual effort in the first period and Oscar Klefbom tallied his fourth goal of the season on the power play in the second to provide the Oilers the advantage.
But Bo Horvat's game-tying skate redirection began the home team's comeback as the club proceeded to get the go-ahead marker from Quinn Hughes and some empty-net insurance from Loui Eriksson.
Horvat's goal was the subject of debate post-game.
"Maybe he kicks it, maybe he doesn't. I don't know," said Oilers Captain Connor McDavid, who had one assist in the game.
"I've looked at it 10 times," said Head Coach Dave Tippett, "that's still a kick to the net and I don't understand the ruling there."
After all was said and done, Tippett simply felt his club didn't adhere to the details needed to come out with the victory.
"It's the details of winning. If you're not willing to do them enough, you're going to lose some games and that's what happened tonight," he said.
Edmonton entered the match 13-0-1 when leading after 40 minutes, marking the first time this season that they could not close out a game in the final period.
Deadlocked at 3-3 in the third after Horvat's goal, the Oilers got an opportunity on the man advantage but couldn't convert.
Soon after, the visitors were called for too many men and it was on that power play that the Canucks got Hughes' game-winner with a bullet from the blueline.
"We just couldn't close it out," said McDavid.
"We had a chance on the power play and didn't score. They had a chance on the power play and did score. That's the difference right there."