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GAME STORY: Canucks 5, Oilers 2

Vancouver powers their way to a 5-2 victory with a four-point night from Tanner Pearson in the first game of a back-to-back home and away set with the Oilers

by Jamie Umbach / EdmontonOilers.com

EDMONTON, AB - Round 1 to the Vancouver Canucks.

The first game of a back-to-back battle between the Oilers and Canucks went the way of the visitors on Saturday night, with the Oilers dropping a 5-2 decision at Rogers Place.

Video: OILERS TODAY | Post-Game vs VAN 11.30.19

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The Oilers finish their back-to-back with the Canucks tomorrow in Vancouver. The game can be seen on Sportsnet West and heard on the Oilers Radio Network, including 630 CHED. Puck drop is 8:08 p.m. MT.

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"If you give up five, you can't win in this league," said Head Coach Dave Tippett following the game. "We're giving up too many goals right now and it's costing us."

In the last two games, the Oilers have given up nine goals and 88 shots.

"We're just playing a little loose right now," added the Oilers bench boss. "We're playing a little looser than I'd like. We're chasing goals and chasing the games. We don't have the same commitment to defending.

"We've got to have the mindset to defend a little better."

Connor McDavid notched his 19th goal and provided an assist on Zack Kassian's ninth tally of the year in the second period that levelled things at 2-2 before the Canucks scored three unanswered goals and took over the contest in the Oilers third regulation loss on home ice.

"Just not good enough all over," McDavid said post-game. "They're a team that you can't play from behind. You've got to try and have a lead on these guys - they're pretty good at shutting it down."

Both teams entered a Hockey Night in Canada clash with eyes towards responding from regrettable defeats on Wednesday, and it was the West Coast side that never trailed following Tyler Graovac's power-play goal 3:31 into the contest.

 

Vancouver's leading scorer in Elias Pettersson was held pointless, but Tanner Pearson's four-point night and three assists from Bo Horvat carried the Canucks past Edmonton.

The Oilers and their No. 2 ranked power-play in the NHL went 0-for-3 and conceded a shorthanded goal. Goaltender Mike Smith made 32 saves on 38 shots, dropping to 7-7-1 on the season.

"We're missing Nuge (Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) a little bit," said Tippett. "That's a concern. You want to create chances on the power play but you don't want to give stuff away. 

 Video: Pearson leads Canucks with four points in 5-2 win

"Not only are you giving it away, but it's giving big momentum away. You know teams are talking about coming here and not taking penalties against us. The few times that they do, you've got to make them pay."

The opening half of the first frame reflected that with plenty of sparks on a Saturday night with both sides starting off the contest with sour tastes in their mouths from their previous defeats.

Kassian, after getting rocked at the blueline by Alexander Edler in the opening two minutes, took exception behind the net on Tim Schaller and took a charging call that would be converted by Graovac despite at first glance appearing to strike the crossbar.

When it was Edmonton's turn with the man advantage, the Canucks sprung an odd-man 2-on-1 that Pearson was fortunate to bury for the early two-goal lead when his backhand slid five-hole under a lunging Smith.

But the captain pulled his side back into the contest 42 seconds later, and Smith to providing support in the crease through 20 minutes as the Oilers were outshot 16-7 in the first period.

Video: POST-GAME RAW | Coach Tippett 11.30.19

Kassian atoned for his early infraction by tying the game 5:05 into the second period before Pearson and Loui Eriksson answered in quick succession before the intermission.

"I thought we did well battling back," McDavid said. "We even had a couple-minute push there where we could've made it 3-2, and then one little mistake and it's in the back of our net."

Kassian spoke pre-game of the Oilers need to have a short memory when it comes to losses this year, and he and his teammates will need to do just that when they return to action and finish off this home and away set with the Canucks tomorrow in Vancouver.

"It's nice knowing you have another one tomorrow," said defenceman Ethan Bear. "Hopefully, we can go in with a chip on our shoulders now and go in with a little bit more juice and have a better start and get a lead."

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