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Under the Scope: Oilers at Canucks

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

Rookie Ryan O'Marra scored his first career NHL goal, but the party was spoiled by the hometown club as the Canucks escaped Rogers Arena with a 3-2 victory and a third straight triumph over the Oilers.

Kevin Bieksa's goal at 19:36 of the third period broke the 2-2 deadlock and ultimately sunk the Oilers in the team's third consecutive defeat. For much of the opening 40-minutes, the Oilers were in complete control of the game as they played an ideal road style that helped them procure a 2-0 lead late in in the middle frame. Shortly after Ryan Whitney's goal put the Oilers up by a pair, Jeff Tambellini rose to the occasion and got his team back in the game following an ill-advised offensive blueline turnover by the Oilers.

From this point forward, it was all Vancouver.

The Canucks tied the game early in the third period courtesy of Mikael Samuelsson, but this only turned out to be the appetizer for the sold-out Rogers Arena crowd. A third-period shot advantage of 14-6 silenced Edmonton's offensive guns as the Canucks broke free. A disallowed goal late in the period didn't cease the momentum, as the unrelenting pressure eventually resulted in another road loss for the visiting Oilers.

All you need to know and more as we go Under the Scope:

At 18:10 of the second period, Ryan Whitney put his club up by a pair as the Oilers looked to be in complete control of the game. A mental breakdown, however, shifted the momentum late in the frame. An offensive blueline turnover turned the play back the other way as the Canucks had numbers. Ryan Kesler and Jeff Tambellini exchanged possession several times, before Tambellini fired a shot over the shoulder of Nikolai Khabibulin to make it a 2-1 game. Vancouver seized momentum at 19:14 and changed the game's complexion. The Canucks continued to battle and eventually toppled the Oilers late in the third.

50 The Oilers evened the Canucks by winning 50% of the draws tonight. Ryan O'Marra led the way, by winning all three that he took. Amazingly, Sam Gagner took 21 and unfortunately suffered with a 33% efficiency rate.
11 Puck management was a central theme tonight as the first two periods were played cautiously. Combined, the two teams accumulated only 11 giveaways (seven by Edmonton, four by Vancouver).
6 This season, the Oilers have seen six players score their first NHL goals: Jordan Eberle, Magnus Paajarvi, Taylor Hall, Linus Omark, Theo Peckham & Ryan O'Marra.
3 The Oilers have now dropped three consecutive decisions, but hope to turn things around with an upcoming five-game homestand.

Jeff Tambellini
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +1 2

Ryan Whitney
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 E 1

Kevin Bieksa
G A P +/- Shots
1 0 1 +2 2

Cory Schneider
21 19 2 60:00 .905

Nikolai Khabibulin
33 30 3 59:39 .909

Dan Hamhuis - D

24:48 - 0P, +1 rating

Ryan Whitney - D

26:26 - 1G, E rating

Both Linus Omark and Ryan O'Marra are continuing to make strides as the season progresses. The two combined to orchestrate the game's opening goal, with Omark sending a shot toward the net. While Omark wasn't necessarily looking to score, his effort was aimed at creating some havoc in front of goaltender Cory Schneider. His deflected shot found the stick of O'Marra on the opposite side of the goal where he found the heart of the net to score his first career NHL marker. It was a special moment for number 42 that was celebrated in emphatic fashion as the Oilers established a 1-0 lead.

Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini doesn't get the opportunity to watch his son, Jeff, too often. Unfortunately, he saw plenty of him tonight as the young forward scored the late-second period goal to bring the game close once more. Tambellini played 14:53, secured a plus-one rating, and added two hits to put a stamp on a fine evening for the hometown Canucks; a performance that also earned him the game's first star honours in the victory.

Ryan Whitney had yet another outstanding evening for the Oilers. Not only did the veteran blueliner add his second goal of the season to put the Oilers up 2-0 at the time, but his 26:26 of ice-time was tops on the team as he led the group all night. In addition, Whitney added his expected calming presence on the breakout, three hits, one takeaway, and two blocked shots to highlight a game that proved he was ready for battle. Just another day at the office for the top defenceman.

While the takedown itself wasn't intentional, the result of the play was as effective as can be. Raffi Torres was cutting down the left-wing as he looked to put a shot on goal. Ryan Whitney was in chase, as he dove to break up the play. Torres was cut down, and was sent head first into the end-boards. At the time, it appeared as though Torres would have been seriously injured, but the bruising winger was able to get back to his feet and skate to the bench; an awkward play, but telling of Torres' mental and physical toughness.

Ryan O'Marra has enjoyed some early career success at Rogers Arena. The 23-year old forward recorded his first NHL point last season when he assisted on a Colin McDonald goal on November 29, 2009 vs. Vancouver. On this night, O'Marra succeeded again, scoring his first career NHL goal in the same building. In addition, O'Marra become the first player born in Japan to score an NHL goal. All told, it was quite a moment for the young forward that will forever be remembered.

"It was an absolute gift. The boys were saying they don't ask you how, they ask you how many. I got that one and hopefully I get a few more here."

-  Ryan O'Marra on his first career NHL goal

Tuesday December 28 vs. Buffalo
  7:00pm MT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

With three consecutive losses on the road, the Oilers hope to turn things around when Edmonton kicks off a five-game homestand Tuesday night against the Buffalo Sabres.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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