VANCOUVER, B.C. -
David Perron recorded a hat trick and lifted the Edmonton Oilers to their first win over the Vancouver Canucks of the season by a 4-2 score.
“You don’t want to give David Perron too much room out there because he can hurt you quickly,” said Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “He’s a deadly, deadly shooter and he was able to get freed up a couple of times out there tonight and that’s not a guy you want to let loose.”
Sam Gagner narrowly missed David Perron on a pass backdoor within the game’s first minute but the two connected at 9:11 of the opening frame to give the Oilers the 1-0 lead. Gagner flipped the puck to Perron in the slot and he redirected the pass by Roberto Luongo. Perron’s goal was his 20th of the season, while Gagner earned his 23rd point and Yakupov earned his 19th with the secondary assist.
The Canucks got the equalizer at 12:33 of the first period when Jordan Schroeder’s shot banked off of Corey Potter then goalie Ilya Bryzgalov’s stick and in. David Booth earned the lone assist. It was Schroeder’s first goal of the season after sitting out since October 19, due to injury.
David Perron would tie his previous career high in goals when he gave the Oilers a 2-1 lead at 17:34 of the opening period. Yakupov drove the puck hard to the net and his shot in deep banked off of Luongo’s pad and out to Perron at the top of the crease. Perron score his 21st goal of the season and the Oilers led at the first intermission.
Vancouver tied the game less than three minutes into the second period. Schroeder scored his second goal of the season and second of the night when his long-range shot deflected in off of Potter. The shot looked like it would go wide of the net at first, but bounced off of the Oilers’ defenceman’s skate and snuck in far side of Bryzgalov.
With under four minutes remaining in the middle frame, a turnover almost proved costly to the Oilers as Chris Higgins zeroed in on net on a breakaway. Bryzgalov flashed the leather and stoned Higgins to keep the game tied at two.
“Oh yeah, he was great,” Eakins said of Bryzgalov’s 25-save performance. “The one, we had a horrible change and they had the breakaway. That was a massive, massive save and in the end, Vancouver couldn’t shoot one by him. It was off feet and one that he accidentally put in himself after it went off Potter’s foot. He was great…”
At 2:20 of the third period, the Oilers took back the lead courtesy of Jesse Joensuu. Taylor Hall slung the puck on net and Ryan Smyth popped the puck out in front to Joensuu who finished it off. Joensuu was awarded by his physicality in front of the net as he cleared himself some space in front of Luongo before getting the goal.
The Oilers’ fourth line did what it has as of late, it gave their team a spark. This time, that spark was not just the game winning goal.
“When they go out there, they really give our bench life when they’re playing like that,” Eakins said. “I think they were a factor in the game, not only with the way they played and they were able to get a goal, but they took on more minutes and took some of the minutes away from our guys which kept us fresher. Vancouver played last night and I think they used a couple of guys very sparingly. Maybe that helped us a little bit, being a little bit more rested with using our fourth line a little bit more.”
It was Joensuu’s third goal of the season.
With just 1:09 left on the clock, Perron sealed the deal with his third goal of the night, an empty netter. It was only Perron’s second-career hat trick performance and both have come against the Canucks.
"I try to bring my best game every night,” said Perron. “Yesterday, with the win that we got, we were able to have a little bit less ice time so we were pretty fresh out there tonight. I felt really good all night… That's the way we need to play, and we're going to get a lot of points as a team if we do that."
He now has a career high 22 goals this season.
The Oilers were happy to not only beat the Canucks for the first time this season, but to do so with a hard-nosed edge about them.
"We have to be able to look them straight in the eyes and be able to tell them to go away, and not always in the nicest way. “We need to be able to play with these guys if we want to be able to make the playoffs… It starts right now for next year."
With the victory over Vancouver, the Oilers have their first two-game winning streak since their two wins on December 23rd, and 27th.
“We’ve been playing better of late and giving up less and it was a real good road game for us,” Eakins said. “All our lines were involved, all of our D, our goalie was excellent when called upon and those are satisfying wins. I think the last time we played here, if I remember correctly, it was back-to-back games and they just manhandled us. We’re slowly getting stronger and it’s good for the group, when you are playing better, to get rewarded with a win.”