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Under the Scope: Oilers at Canucks

by Ryan Dittrick / Edmonton Oilers

In what appeared to be a mismatch on paper, the Oilers came into Saturday's contest looking to avoid a 12th consecutive loss against the newly crowned Presidents' Trophy champions. Strong special teams play, including a pair of power-play goals helped the Oilers skate away with a 4-1 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.

Kurtis Foster, Linus Omark, Jordan Eberle and Magnus Paajarvi all scored for the Oilers, while Devan Dubnyk turned aside 40 shots for his 11th win of the season. Andrew Cogliano also had a strong outing, registering a two-assist night in the victory.

Teemu Hartikainen was awarded a penalty shot in the second period, but his forehand attempt missed the net as he looked to beat Canucks netminder Cory Schneider high, stick-side. Although he was not forced to make a save on the play, Schneider played well for his club as he made 30 saves, despite surrendering the four Edmonton goals.

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

Kurtis Foster's late goal in the opening period set the tone, but plenty was work was required to establish a comfortable cushion against the league's top team. Again on the power-play, Jordan Eberle contributed to the cause as he registered his 18th goal of the season to put the Oilers ahead 2-0 only 2:53 into the middle frame. After spotting that Canucks netminder Cory Schneider was cheating to one side, Eberle squeaked a shot through to put the home side down by a pair. Although Vancouver would continue to press in search of a comeback, the two-goal lead was all the Oilers would need.

44 Edmonton could only manage a 44% success rate in the faceoff circle tonight. Of the regular draw-takers, Andrew Cogliano posted the best result with a 8-9, 47% outing.
8 Puck management was an excellent strength for the Oilers tonight. In total, Edmonton was able to record eight takeaways, while only giving the puck away three times.
+1 Despite the 4-1 setback, Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome was able to end the evening with a plus-one rating; the only player on his squad be on the positive side.
1 With his assist on Magnus Paajarvi's third period goal, Chris VandeVelde recorded his first NHL point.
4 Only four Oilers were unable to record at least one shot on goal tonight (Edmonton accumulated 34 in total).

Linus Omark
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 +2 4

Devan Dubnyk
41 40 1 60:00 .976

Kurtis Foster
G A P +/- Shots
1 1 2 E 1

Cory Schneider
34 30 4 59:55 .882

Devan Dubnyk
41 40 1 60:00 .976

Christian Ehrhoff - D

25:40 - 0P, -1 rating

Ladislav Smid - D

22:36 - 0P, E rating

Linus Omark snapped his 26-game scoreless drought Thursday night in Minnesota. In the second period of this evening's game, Omark extended a more positive streak as he potted his fifth goal of the season. Following a heads-up play in the neutral zone in which he dished to Andrew Cogliano, Teemu Hartikainen galloped down the wing before he spotted Omark steaming into the slot area. Hartikainen fed a pin-point pass onto the tape of Omark who wasted no time in depositing another goal for the visitors. Omark would add an assist in the third period to cap an excellent outing.

On a line with Linus Omark and Teemu Hartikainen, Andrew Cogliano had an excellent evening for the Oilers. With only a few games remaining, Cogliano is looking to establish his role for his next season, especially with the emergence of some young, talented rookies in the middle. On the evening, Cogliano was able to register two assists, two hits, a plus-one rating, and a respectable 8-9, 47-percent outing in the faceoff circle. All things considered, a tremendous evening for the 23-year-old veteran.

Since being called up from the AHL's Oklahoma City Barons, Teemu Hartikainen has made quite an impression in Edmonton. Evidence of his hard-nosed style was expressed late in the first period with an aggressive play on Vancouver's Kevin Bieksa. After being taken down by the Canucks defenceman in the offensive zone, Hartikainen sprung to his feet and gave a quick shot to the back of Bieksa before chasing the puck in the corner; a terrific display of his willingness to compete physically.

Canucks defenceman Aaron Rome was a physical force tonight. In the first period alone, Rome connected with two violent hip-checks that sent a pair of Oilers violently to the ice. Although his connection with J-F Jacques midway through the period was a fine example, his impact on Ladislav Smid with only a few seconds to play in the opening frame took the prize. Smid was sent heavily into the glass before he performed an unintended cartwheel through the air en route to his collision with the ice.

The Presidents' Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks lead the NHL with the top power-play and penalty kill percentages. Although the Oilers rank 30th in both, the edge was awarded to the visitors on this night. Edmonton produced two goals with the man-advantage on four attempts, while the penalty kill was outstanding, going four-for-four in the victory.

"You come into a game like this and nobody expects you to have a chance. You take that as motivation and as a little something extra to go into it. At the same time, realize that they're as good as they are for a reason and it's that much more important to be ready to play for the entire game and we did that."

Devan Dubnyk on the win over Vancouver

Tuesday, April 5 vs. Vancouver
  7:00pm MDT (SNET-W / 630 CHED)

The Oilers & Canucks wrap up the home-and-home set with a Tuesday night date at Rexall Place. The action gets underway at 7:00pm MDT and will be broadcast on Rogers Sportsnet West.

Author: Ryan Dittrick |

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