"I thought it was a well-played game by both teams," said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. "There weren't a lot of mistakes and when the mistakes were made, the goaltenders made tremendous saves. It was a game where you had to be patient. You have to play that way against Vancouver. You just can't play run and gun and take risks. Our guys stuck with it and we received a lot of good efforts from a lot of guys tonight so we're happy with it."
A fast-paced and feisty first period ended with the Oilers and Canucks knotted with zeroes on the scoreboard.
The Oilers began the game with some decent pressure by their top line. Milan Lucic narrowly missed on a deflection in front of the net as it hit pipe.
A little while after, McDavid had a filthy feed up the middle, through the slot, that set up Andrej Sekera for a slick backhand chance. The Oilers defenceman's shot was just wide.
Midway through the opening frame, Oilers winger Zack Kassian flattened Erik Gudbranson with a hit along the boards. The two dropped the gloves in short order and tussled in an old-school, throwback bout that brought the Rogers Arena crowd to their feet.
Kassian would finish the game with a team-high five shots on goal.
"I thought Kass played tremendous," said McLellan. "I think it was a big night for him to come back here and participate as a regular player. He was physical, he created chances, he checked well. If we keep getting games like that from him it will just increase our chance of success."
Luca Sbisa tracked down Lucic for a couple of hits on a shift, but it was Lucic who was called for roughing, which gave the Canucks their first power play of the game. Talbot made a great save on Philip Larsen on that penalty kill to keep things scoreless.
The power play did give the Canucks momentum though as they quickly gained the lead in shots and controlled the pace for a stretch. The Oilers grabbed back the momentum as the period expired with a power play of their own, but Jordan Eberle was unable to gather and shoot a feed by Lucic that would have been a prime scoring opportunity.
The horn sounded, signalling an end to the fun opening frame, but the action was just getting started.
The majority of the action to start the second was between the pipes, as both goalies were locked in.
Talbot, in particular, was excellent. At 8:09 of the second, Talbot denied the puck three times in a lightning fast sequence. Moments later, he'd rob Markus Granlund with his glove, sending a ripple of cheers through a crowd that contained a good amount of Oilers faithful.
"They had a few point-blank shots that he made tremendous saves on," said McLellan.
McDavid broke open the scoring at 11:31 of the middle frame. Anton Lander won a defensive zone draw and McDavid picked the puck up and fed Lucic, who then passed it back to a streaking McDavid who, with Ben Hutton hacking at his legs, poked the puck through the pads of Ryan Miller. The goal was McDavid's fifth of the season.
The Oilers didn't let off the gas pedal in the third. Kassian was stopped alone on Miller when he tried to go five-hole on a breakaway in the opening six minutes of the frame.
Leon Draisaitl made a brilliant defensive play on the backcheck, stopping Brendan Gaunce's breakaway opportunity.
"You've got to be able to step up and make plays in key moments when you're up a goal," said Lucic. "You know the other team is going to press and bring their best. That's when you've got to make good, strong plays and try to get in the offensive zone and keep the other team in the defensive zone. That's definitely the best defence going, keeping the other team in their own end.
"They came with a strong push but I think we stayed strong as a five-man unit, not giving them a whole lot and we got some big saves when we needed them and another big win."
Jesse Puljujarvi had a great chance to make it 2-0 on a 2-on-1 rush but fired his shot off the crossbar.
The Oilers were buzzing, trying to give themselves some more cushion midway through the final frame. McDavid was robbed by Miller on a breakaway that could have sealed the game.
Lucic would be the one to put the stamp on the victory, potting an empty-net goal with 1:20 left in the game. Talbot finished his night with 26 saves in the shutout.
The Oilers (7-1-0) return home to host the Ottawa Senators at Rogers Place on Sunday at 7 p.m. MT.