The Oilers return home to host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday, at 7:30 p.m. MT. The game can be seen on Sportsnet One or heard on 630 CHED and the Oilers Radio Network.
VANCOUVER, BC – Lauri Korpiksoki potted the game-winning goal in 3-on-3 overtime lifting the Oilers to a 2-1 win on the road against the Canucks.
“Lauri, for me, is bringing trust,” said Oilers Head Coach Todd McLellan. “You can play him in all situations. It’s not perfect, but he tries to play the right way all the time. For him to get rewarded tonight was a nice thing.”
The Oilers struck first on the power play courtesy of a great play by Connor McDavid and a perfect one-timer by Nail Yakupov. McDavid carried the puck into the zone, even passing it off the boards to himself as he split through the defence. The rookie centre skated down low, drawing attention from the Canucks, and he found Yakupov in front for the open look at the net. Yakupov’s second goal of the season gave Edmonton a 1-0 lead at 3:23 of the opening frame. Mark Letestu recorded an assist on the goal.
“I think they’re going to get better in time,” McLellan said of the McDavid-Yakupov duo. “It was a tough game for them to play today with (the Canucks) bodies leaning on you. They don’t give you any space at all with or without the puck. They had to carry a lot of Canucks around tonight but as time goes on I think that will evolve and hopefully it grows to where they feel real good about each other.”
The Canucks tied it up when Matt Bartkowski’s shot found its way past Anders Nilsson at 15:43 of the first. Bo Horvat was crashing the net but didn’t interfere with Nilsson until after the puck crossed the line. Sven Baertschi and Dan Hamhuis each recorded assists.
At one point in the first, the Oilers were outshooting the Canucks 4-3 but Vancouver took over and finished the opening frame up 13-5 in that category.
The Oilers and Canucks traded a few chances in the second period, but neither team was able to find twine. One of the more nervous moments for Edmonton in the second frame came when a collision took out both defencemen on the ice and allowed Baertschi to go one on one with Nilsson. The Oilers netminder stoned the Canucks player on his backhand attempt to keep things tied.
With a little over 17 to go in the third period, the Canucks nearly took the lead. Nilsson made a huge save on Henrik Sedin who came in on a breakaway but the rebound gave Daniel Sedin a look at an open net. Luckily for the Oilers, Daniel lifted the puck over and missed his chance at the lead.
Nilsson made 33 saves in the win.
“Really pleased with the goaltending… Anders made save after save to give us an opportunity to win,” said McLellan. “When you play (three games in four nights) sometimes you need that. Hats off to him and hats off to the group for sticking with it.
The game was tied 1-1 after regulation and went to 3-on-3 overtime. The Oilers had 2-on-1 rush 29 seconds into OT with Taylor Hall and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins but they couldn’t finish.
The Oilers got another chance on a 2-on-1 and this time Andrej Sekera set up Korpikoski for the game-winning goal at 1:47 of the extra time.
The Oilers finish their two-game road trip with wins in Calgary and Vancouver.
“It’s nice,” said Korpikoski. “I think we played a really solid game in Calgary. It was a little bit of a slow start today in the first, but a really good test for us in the way we played the last 40 minutes. We were able to grind out a win. It’s not always pretty on the road, especially when you play back to back. But I’m really pleased with how we showed up the last two periods.”
The Oilers return home to take on the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.