VANCOUVER, BC - A fast start to the first period for the Canucks proved to be enough to keep the Oilers from mounting a successful comeback, as Vancouver skated to a 3-2 pre-season victory.
“We liked the effort,” Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said. “I thought our group played well against the Canucks, but we definitely want a better result than that. I thought we had some chances to score late and we couldn’t get it in the net. We’ve got to get better at burying those chances when the game is on the line.”
It didn’t take long for the Canucks to build an early lead, and then increase it. At 1:19 of the opening period, Chris Higgins scored on a breakaway, backhanded over goaltender Ben Scrivens. Higgins was assisted by Alexandre Burrows and Alexander Edler.
Vancouver took a 2-0 lead at 3:26, when Henrik Sedin passed the puck from the slot to his brother Daniel behind the net and Daniel banked a shot in off of the back of Scrivens.
At 5:07 of the second, Luca Sbisa threw a pass out in front of his own net and Oilers winger Nail Yakupov intercepted it in the slot. Yakupov’s shot found twine behind Ryan Miller and the Oilers drew within one.
The celebrations didn’t last for the Oilers as the Canucks reclaimed their two-goal lead at the 11:33 mark of the second. Radim Vrbata snuck a shot through the legs of Scrivens to make it 3-1 Vancouver. Ryan Stanton and Henrik Sedin recorded the assists.
It was unfortunate for the Oilers, because in the first 10 minutes of the second period they had been outshooting Vancouver 5-1.
Will Acton scored at 18:03 of the second to make it a 3-2 game. Anton Lander passed the puck to himself between his legs, then found Acton near the face-off dot. Acton snuck his shot in off the far-side post and past Miller. Lander and Mark Arcobello had the helpers on the goal.
Acton was one of several Oilers players in the lineup tonight trying to make enough of an impression to stick on the roster for opening night. Acton feels his performance tonight was a reflection of him putting it all on the ice.
“Yeah, I think so. I think all of camp I tried to play the same way. Obviously, we came up a little bit short tonight. But the aspect you’re speaking of, I thought I did all I could do,” Acton said.
Yakupov had a breakaway attempt just seconds later, but he was slashed by Dan Hamhuis and didn’t score.
The Oilers outshot the Canucks 14-6 in the second period and then 12-4 in the third, but they couldn’t net the equalizer.
Scrivens ended his night with 15 saves in net for the Oilers. On the opposite side of the ice, Miller stopped 27 shots, leading his team to the win.