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RECAP: Canucks 4, Oilers 3 (SO)

by Ryan Frankson / Edmonton Oilers

VANCOUVER, BC – The Oilers closed out the 2015-16 season with a 4-3 shootout loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday night.

Darnell Nurse, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Patrick Maroon scored goals, while Cam Talbot made 25 saves, but the home side emerged victorious in the breakaway competition, which lasted a whopping seven rounds.

The Oilers outshot the Canucks 38-28 on the night, and were fairly satisfied with their effort despite only earning one of the two points they were after.

“I thought it was a competitive night on our behalf,” said Head Coach Todd McLellan. “The guys buckled them up and came and played. We can’t ask for more than that… We would have liked to have won. We would have reached some of our goals that we set internally for the last segment of the season, had we got the two points. But overall, a pretty good effort.”

Edmonton showed resilience in the matchup, rebounding from 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 deficits to tie the game and force extra time.

“We did some good things tonight and didn’t give up when we were down late,” Nurse added. “It was good to see. We went out there and battled for each other.”

Fresh off doling out their player awards in a pre-game ceremony, the Canucks dominated the early stages of the game, but the Oilers bounced back and began generating some scoring chances of their own.

It was the home side that struck first, though, as Derek Dorsett one-timed a low shot just inside the far post past Talbot, who was sliding in the opposite direction across his crease. Matt Bartkowski picked up the lone assist, delivering the pass to set up Dorsett’s one-timer and fifth goal of the season.

The Oil got a brief scare in the first when Adam Pardy was taken hard into the end boards by Bo Horvat, resulting in a boarding minor. Pardy had to be assisted off the ice but he did return later in the frame.

Edmonton got a power-play opportunity early in the second as Connor McDavid was hauled down on a drive to the net. The visitors poured on the pressure, but Markstrom made a series of fabulous saves, including a highlight-reel glove snag on a Jordan Eberle backhand.

The officials took a look at the replay to ensure the puck didn’t cross the goal line in Markstrom’s glove, and they eventually confirmed their no-goal call.

The Oilers finally solved Markstrom at 13:46 of the middle frame, as Nurse fired a point shot on net that deflected off the netminder's stick and in for his third goal of the season. Nail Yakupov and Lauri Korpikoski picked up the helpers, each recording their 22nd points of the season. Nurse got his 10th point with the tally.

Emerson Etem put the Canucks back up by a goal just 1:21 into the third, flicking a wrist shot that Talbot got a piece of but not enough to keep it out of the net. It was Etem’s seventh of the season, and Dorsett was credited with an assist to give him a two-point game.

The Oil didn’t back down, though, as Nugent-Hopkins picked up his 12th of the season 7:46 into the frame, parking himself in front of the net and perfectly deflecting a pass from Taylor Hall. It was also RNH’s 34th point, while Hall got his 65th to lead the team in scoring. Iiro Pakarinen also assisted for his 13th point.

Jannik Hansen put a bullet wrist shot top shelf with just over four minutes to go in regulation for his 22nd goal of the year to restore Vancouver’s lead. Bartkowski got his second assist of the game, while Alex Biega also got a helper.

Once again, the Oilers responded with the equalizer as Maroon scorched a wrist shot of his own top shelf on Markstrom for a PPG with just 1:27 remaining. Yakupov and Mark Letestu got the assists, a nice shot in the arm for Letestu who was playing his 400th NHL game.

The score remained 3-3 through 60 minutes, so off to overtime we went. Talbot made the biggest play of the sudden-death frame, making a glorious glove save on a deft passing play by the Sedin twins.

In what turned out to be a lengthy shootout, Etem scored in the seventh round to secure the win for the Canucks. Leon Draisaitl and RNH were successful in their shootout attempts, while Etem, Jake Virtanen and Alex Burrows tallied for the victors.

“We’re definitely a lot better off than we were last year,” Hall said, reflecting on the campaign’s conclusion. “Overall, it’s disappointing, but there are still some positives… There have been a lot of strides, not only individually for some guys, but as a team.”

With 82 games in the books, the Oilers (31-43-8) will have their end-of-season meetings on Sunday at Rexall Place.
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