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VANCOUVER, BC – There was no shortage of offence as the Oilers closed out the 2014-15 season with a 6-5 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks.
“It’s just a disappointing end to a disappointing season,” said Oilers forward Taylor Hall. “You never want to allow six goals and think you’re going to have a chance to win and we’re lucky we got as far as we did.”
The Oilers got off to the start they wanted as a turnover in the slot was picked up by Derek Roy, who deftly gathered the puck and passed it backdoor to a waiting Nail Yakupov. The winger potted his 14th goal of the season at 9:45 of the first period.
11 seconds later, Jordan Eberle made it 2-0 from just inside the top of the circle, whipping a shot past Ryan Miller. Benoit Pouliot earned an assist for setting Eberle up.
Daniel Sedin made it a 2-1 game when he scored at 13:10 of the opening frame, assisted by Alexander Edler and his brother, Henrik Sedin.
The Canucks tied the game at 2:15 of the second, courtesy of a goal by Kevin Bieska. The defenceman was able to bank a shot in off of Ben Scrivens’ foot from down low. The goal was assisted by Linden Vey and Brandon McMillan.
The Oilers took back the lead at 3:44 of the middle frame. Following an offensive zone draw, Oscar Klefbom shot the puck on Miller. Pouliot gathered and dished the rebound to Hall, who buried his 14th goal of the season.
The lead increased to 4-2 as Pouliot sniped a shot from the high slot for his third point of the night. Martin Marincin and Hall notched the assists, at 7:47 of the second. That was Pouliot’s 19th goal of the season, a new career high.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, the Canucks came right back 14 seconds later to make it 4-3. Sven Baertschi went five-hole on Scrivens for his first of the season and first as a member of the Vancouver organization. Baertschi was acquired in a trade with the Calgary Flames on March 2. Radim Vrbata recorded the lone helper on that goal.
The offence continued for the Oilers as a nice stretch pass from David Musil found Teddy Purcell. The winger put home his own rebound with 30 seconds left in the second period to put Edmonton ahead 5-3.
Miller, making his first start since February 22, had a difficult return to game action. Through the first two periods, the Canucks goaltender allowed five goals on 20 shots. Miller finished the game with 23 saves on 28 shots.
Scrivens also had a rough night, stopping 17 of 23 shots.
“I think both goaltenders would like to have a few back. I think that’s how it went tonight,” said Oilers Interim Coach Todd Nelson. “Anytime you play games that are meaningless it’s wide open, back and forth, which you saw. It’s entertaining for the fans but it’s a situation, from a coach’s standpoint, you’d like to see your team play the right way but both teams were trading chances back and forth.”
The Canucks, once again, drew within one. Bo Horvat worked the puck down low and around the back of the Oilers net. He passed it out in front for Jannik Hansen who finished the play, scoring his 16th goal of the season at 5:56 of the third frame.
“It’s frustrating, that’s for sure. I think we had control of the game the whole first 40 minutes,” said Pouliot. “We could have put it away at the end, but we came up short. It’s the story of the year. It’s either we don’t do the job in front of whoever is in net, or sometimes there are some weak ones that get in so it’s really inconsistent, our game. It’s frustrating and it has been like that all year.”
Baertschi went one on one with Musil, using his body to protect the puck from the Oilers defender, and potted his second goal of the night at 10:00 of the third. That goal made it a 5-5 game, and sent it to overtime. It also marked the third time the Canucks erased a two-goal deficit.
In overtime, Hall couldn’t finish a partial breakaway and Matt Fraser’s backhand was turned away by Miller. With 2:31 left in overtime, Edler scored the winner off a feed from Daniel Sedin.