|Ales Hemsky drives wide and snaps a shot on Roberto Luongo on Jan. 20, 2013 at Rogers Arena (Photo by Getty Images).
Courtesy of Jordan Eberle and Ales Hemsky, the Edmonton Oilers rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to pull even with the Canucks after regulation and overtime. In the shootout, Hemsky and Sam Gagner each scored, while Devan Dubnyk stoned Alex Edler and Alex Burrows, propelling the visitors to a 3-2 opening-night win.FIRST PERIOD
Edmonton didn't get the start it wanted as Taylor Hall picked up the season's first penalty when he was charged with tripping 39 seconds in. After allowing a only single shot on the advantage, however, the Oilers killed the infraction with ease.
Moments after the power-play expired, the Oilers went to the attack. Sam Gagner, Nail Yakupov and Ales Hemsky orchestrated a pair of glorious scoring opportunities, but both were turned aside by Canucks starter Roberto Luongo.
The Oilers nearly cashed the icebreaker near the six-minute mark as a result of an atrocious turnover by Keith Ballard. Shawn Horcoff was quick to pounce on the loose puck in the slot, but his quick shot was smothered by the netminder.
With 11:11 to play in the period, Maxim Lapierre was given the gate for slashing -- as a result the Oilers' power-play, which had a 20.6-percent success rate last season, went to work. Just as the penalty expired, Canucks defenceman Alex Edler took the puck up ice, walked down main street and launched a slap shot past Dubnyk to give the home side a 1-0 lead.
Making matters worse, Ladislav Smid was assessed a roughing minor 24 seconds later. With a second left on it, Dubnyk came up with a sensational save as the puck popped loose to Daniel Sedin alone in the slot.
The Oilers collected their third minor penalty of the period at 15:40 as Nick Schultz was sent off for interference. Dubnyk was called upon to be brilliant -- that he was as he preserved the 1-0 score.
With 28 seconds on the clock, Aaron Valpatti continued the parade to the penalty box as a goaltender interference minor gave the Oilers another chance on the power-play.
After one period of play, the Canucks led 1-0 and were in possession of a 13-7 advantage in shots.SECOND PERIOD
The Oilers started the second period with 1:32 remaining on the power-play, but little was generated and the teams returned to even-strength play.
Three minutes later, Horcoff, Ryan Smyth and Teemu Hartikainen engineered a promising goalmouth sequence, but both the Finn and the captain missed on tightly-checked open-net chances.
At 6:59, Kevin Bieksa coughed up the puck to Justin Schultz in the slot. The 22-year-old rookie had all day to pick his spot, but Schultz's wrister was snatched by the glove of Luongo.
The momentum paid dividends, however, as the Oilers went to the power-play moments later. Edmonton did create some chances, including a heavy one-timer from Yakupov in the far faceoff circle, but Luongo stopped them all.
A chance at one end turns into a goal at the other. Yakupov and Hemsky worked the puck nicely up one way, but No. 83 elected not to shoot -- as a result, his pass attempt drifted wide and out of the zone. Back the other way, with the duo caught deep and subsequently exhausted when their defensive responsibilities were needed, Zack Kassian snuck down and hammered a quick shot past Dubnyk to make it a 2-0 Canucks lead.
Late in the period, Daniel and Henrik Sedin continued to work their cycling magic down low. The end result was a point-blank chance by Ales Burrows at the lip of the crease, but Dubnyk stood tall.
With under a minute to play, Ryan Whitney set up Horcoff for a great chance as he walked in alone off the rush, but the captain's quick shot was stopped by Luongo's challenging upper body.
As the clock wound down, the Oilers got on the board to make it a 2-1 game. With only 3.1 seconds to play, Taylor Hall dished to Jordan Eberle at the blue line -- No. 14 then walked down the boards, beat Alex Edler wide and snapped a backhand shot past Luongo from an impossible angle.
Having recorded 14 shots in the second, the Oilers pulled to within one on the shot clock: 22-21.THIRD PERIOD
Just three minutes in, the Canucks had a chance to restore their two-goal edge when Jeff Petry's point shot was blocked at the offensive blue line. Canucks winger Dale Weise scooped up the loose puck and broke in alone with Ladislav Smid in chase, but he blew a tire at the last possible second and the puck slid to safety.
Moments later, the Oilers came oh-so close to tying it when Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov raced in on a 2-on-1. Schultz elected to shoot, but Luongo came up big once more to deny the young rookie.
With 13:13 to play, the Oilers went back to the PK when Ales Hemsky was called for hooking. This time around, the visitors didn't allow a single shot to come up with their fourth-straight kill. But they needed another in quick succession. At 9:12, Hall was called for tripping -- 190 feet from his own net.
The Oilers killed that one, too.
At 12:31, Yakupov drew a penalty to put the Oilers back on the power-play in search of the equalizer. With only 26 seconds left on the advantage, Hemsky rushed down the wing and rifled a shot up and over Luongo to make it a 2-2 game.
On the ensuing faceoff, Ben Eager and Zack Kassian dropped the mitts in a quick and spirited bout. The Oilers winger got the edge in the tilt after landing several bombs late and earning the takedown.
After 60 minutes of play, the Oilers led in the shot count 30-28. OVERTIME
Dubnyk came up with a massive save early in the extra period as Alex Burrows walked across the line and launched a slap shot on goal.
The teams traded chances throughout overtime, but nothing of consequence was created. As a result, the game progressed to a shootout.SHOOTOUT
1. Alex Edler - STOPPED
2. Alex Burrows - STOPPED
1. Sam Gagner - GOAL
2. Ales Hemsky - GOAL
|Three star selections |
|1st: ||ZACK KASSIAN |
|2nd: ||JORDAN EBERLE |
|3rd: ||JUSTIN SCHULTZ |
|Winning Goaltender |