The Canucks wrapped up a 6 game two week road trip and started a weekend home and home vs. division rivals and one of the early season surprises. The Oilers edged the Canucks in the season-opening game at tonight’s venue at Rogers Place and they haven’t looked back and sat 1st in the Pacific division with an impressive 16-8-3 record and 35 points, seven points better than the Canucks, who are now out of a playoff spot. Jacob Markstrom was back in net after missing the last game, initially a scheduled start, with an undisclosed injury. The lines were put in a blender after Wednesday’s disastrous third period. The biggest change had Loui Eriksson, who has barely been averaging seen minutes of ice time, was skating with Bo Horvat and Tanner Pearson (perhaps to get his trade value up with the need to clear cap space imminent with most of the injured players nearing a return to the lineup). Speaking of which, Antoine Roussel played his last conditioning game today and could return to the lineup tomorrow or Tuesday if the team wants him to have one last practice. The lotto line was back together, hopefully for good. Could the Canucks snap the two game losing streak? Here is tonight’s game recap.
- The Canucks opened the scoring three and a half minutes into the game as Tyler Graovac snapped one off the post and in for a PP marker.
- Ten minutes later Tanner Pearson snuck one under Mike Smith’s pad for a shorthanded marker
- Thirty-two seconds later, Connor McDavid got the Oilers on the board, picking the far side on Jacob Markstrom
- The Oilers tied the game just over five minutes into the 2nd period as Zack Kassian raced end to end, slowed almost to a stop and snapped it past a frozen Markstrom
- Just under twelve and a half minutes later, Pearson jammed the puck home at the side of the net
- Just over four minutes later, Loui Eriksson whacked a centering feed by Smith
- The Canucks added a goal 81 seconds into the 3rd period on a wraparound by Josh Leivo
- Jacob Markstrom stopped 28/30 shots
- Final score: Canucks 5 Oilers 2
- This was a much better game by the Canucks, who took advantage of a less than sharp Mike Smith, who will definitely want a few of the goals he allowed back. Loui Eriksson had his best game in a while, scoring the 4th goal, blocking a couple of shots and taking a couple of shots. Eriksson’s only blemish was taking a bad penalty, which the Oilers scored on. He didn’t last long playing with Horvat and Miller. Eriksson played a season-high 16:04. Still wonder if he was played more to maybe get teams interested as the Canucks will likely be forced to move his salary with the injured players nearing a return in the next several games.
- Jacob Markstrom finally got the elephant off his back, earning his first win in November. He made some big stops, although he may want the Oilers 2nd goal back. Hopefully now the Canucks starting goalie can go on a bit of a run with that first W of the month under his belt
- Tanner Pearson and Bo Horvat combined for 7 points (Captain Bo had 3 assists and Pearson had a pair of goals and a pair of assists). It will be interesting to see how the line plays with Antoine Roussel added to the mix.
- The Canucks won 48% of the draws, led by Elias Pettersson, who won every draw he took. JT Miller (60% success rate) also had a good night in the faceoff circle
- The Canucks had 15 hits, led by Tim Schaller, who had 4 hits tonight
- The Canucks blocked 16 shots, led by Eriksson, Jordie Benn and Alex Edler, who each blocked a pair of shots
- With the win, the Canucks moved back into possession of the 2nd WC spot.
- Up next, both teams catch a flight to Vancouver where they will meet again same time tomorrow night. Look for Thatcher Demko to start. Antoine Roussel might even make his season debut with his conditioning stint over.