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RECAP: Canucks 4, Oilers 0

by Chris Wescott / Edmonton Oilers


VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Canucks outshot the Edmonton Oilers 40-19 and handed their visitors from Alberta the 4-0 shutout loss tonight at Rogers Arena.

"We're certainly not happy about it…," said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. "I give John Tortorella and his group great credit that they were able to prepare for us. They've been sitting around waiting for this game, so they were certainly able to key on us. He had that team ready to go, and we just couldn't ever get going. It seemed like every time we got the puck they had already closed on us. We just couldn't even get out of our zone for most of the night."

The first period of play was dominated by the Canucks as they outshot Edmonton 14-4.

"They started extremely strong," said Oilers Captain Andrew Ference. "They definitely attacked as much as they could and were very aggressive and won a lot of battles. First period, they had a lot of zone time just by creating that pressure, forcing turnovers and it definitely created a lot of their chances. We obviously didn't match some of the battles along the walls and important places and had some extended shifts in our own zone."

It was a 4-on-3 power play at 8:20 of the second period that broke open the scoring. Vancouver's Chris Higgins was planted in front of goaltender Devan Dubnyk, providing the screen that Daniel Sedin needed. Sedin fired a long-range shot through traffic and past Dubnyk for the game's first score. Jason Garrison and Ryan Kesler earned an assist each as Vancouver took the 1-0 lead.

The Oilers nearly responded sometime later, with 7:15 remaining in the middle frame. Boyd Gordon flipped the puck on net and Jesse Joensuu was clogging up the crease. Joensuu nearly tipped in a deflection, but the puck flew wide of Roberto Luongo.

Then a minute later, David Perron and Justin Schultz came at Luongo on a 2-on-1 odd-man rush. Perron fired a shot and the Canucks goaltender flashed his glove to make the save.

By the end of the second period, the Oilers were being outshot 26-10 but kept the game tight, at 1-0.

"We didn't spend nearly enough time in their zone," said Ference. "Creating turnovers and having extended shifts in our end, you're gong to get outshot every time. You can't create offence without the puck. That was the biggest part, especially in the first and towards the end of the game where we had nothing in their end."

That score would change at 2:26 of the third period. David Booth took the puck over the Oilers blue line and got a shot off towards the net. Zack Kassian, with his back to the net, deflected the shot past Dubnyk for the 2-0 lead.

With 13:33 left in the game, Kesler left the puck for Higgins with a perfect backhanded pass and the Canucks would get their third goal of the night. Higgins sniped the far side shot on Dubnyk and just like that, it was 3-0.

Dale Weise scored a power play goal with under 30 seconds to play to finish off the 4-0 win for the Canucks.

"It's hard to get a shot on the net from your own zone, so that'd be one problem," said Eakins. "That's as good as I've seen the Canucks play in a  while. I try to watch them as much as I can with them being in our division, and I thought they were excellent tonight."

For Dubnyk, it was a bounce back performance from his game against Boston on the previous night, despite what the score would indicate.

"That first period we were in our zone the whole time, and he was able to get us out of it even," said Eakins. "And then even going into the third, all we needed to do was play one good period in front of him. You spend that much time in your own zone and bad things are going to happen."

The loss was the first time the Oilers have lost back-to-back games since November 15.

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