EDMONTON, AB - A very intense game swung in favour of Vancouver in the second period, then slowed down in the third as the visiting Canucks take down the Oilers 2-1.
Oilers winger Tyler Pitlick got things started when he crushed Bo Horvat with an open-ice check in the opening two minutes of the game. Horvat left the game with an upper body injury and did not return.
Around the nine-minute mark, Oilers Nail Yakupov cross-checked Alexandre Burrows and things continued to heat up.
“There was a lot of chatter on the ice tonight between the two teams,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “Sometimes you’re so focused on your own team in training camp that you forget that the other guys are fighting for jobs too. It was intense and a wee bit dirty down there tonight. But I thought the guys handled themselves well and it was just an even game.”
With 1:19 remaining in the first period, Jesse Joensuu made a strong play on the wing, shedding a defenceman and finding a streaking Teddy Purcell with a pass out in front. Purcell crashed the net and put a move on goaltender Eddie Lack, scoring his first goal of the pre-season.
Purcell collided with Lack on the score and the netminder stayed down for a few moments before resuming play. Leon Draisaitl got the second assist.
“I haven’t seen it yet, but I felt like I made a save and then I kind of got stuck and he ran me over,” Lack said. “It was just black and then all of the sudden the puck was in the net. I’m honestly not sure what happened.”
Shortly after that sequence, there was more intensity.
Steve Pinizzotto fought Shawn Matthias in front of the Canucks bench at 15:13, but even that wouldn’t be the end of the fireworks in the opening 20 minutes.
The period came to a close, but not the action on the ice. Oilers Will Acton and Canucks forward Shawn Matthias scrapped in the Vancouver zone after the final whistle of the period. Each earned a 10 minute misconduct penalty to go along with their fighting majors.
Right from the opening puck drop of the second, the intensity continued and shortly after that the penalty box began fill up on both sides. At 6:05, Tom Sestito interfered with Oilers goaltender Viktor Fasth. Martin Marincin originally went towards Sestito for some retaliation, but it was 2013 seventh-overall pick Darnell Nurse who dropped the gloves, going after the offender.
The scrap was broken up before it started, with Nurse getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
Eakins said that was, “probably the most physical game” he’s seen Nurse play yet.
“It was a combination of everything,” Nurse said of his physicality. “It’s getting to that point where the final cuts are getting made so I’m just trying to go out there and show everything I can do. It’s something I can definitely do on a nightly basis, it’s just tonight it showed the most.”
The Canucks tied the game at one at 10:49 of the second period, as Nick Bonino scored shorthanded. He was assisted by Alexander Edler and Alexandre Burrows.
It seemed like the next fight of the game had been brewing for some time. Sestito and Oilers winger Kevin Westgarth squared off for a lengthy scrap.
A wide open Edler gave the Canucks their first lead of the night, 2-1, at 14:57 of the second. Edler’s 4-on-4 goal was assisted by Nicklas Jensen and Derek Dorsett.
The game settled down in the third period and was quiet from a penalty standpoint as Vancouver held onto their one-goal lead.
The Oilers pulled Fasth with under two minutes remaining for the extra attacker, but Lack and the Canucks held on to get the pre-season win.