The fans were finally back in Rogers Place for the 2021-22 season and home opener. The Oilers and their division rival Canucks took the game as far as they could, with the Oilers finally prevailing 3-2 in a shootout.
You could tell there was some opening night jitters as it took a while for teams to settle in.
On The Board!
Jesse Puljujarvi opened the scoring with 3:05 to go in the first. The first Oilers goal of the season was assisted by Nurse and McDavid.
At 17:12 of the 2nd period Zach Hyman scored his first as an Oiler. The power play marker was assisted by Draisaitl and McDavid. It was a very nice passing play between the three that ended with an easy tap in for Hyman.
Edmonton got into a little penalty trouble in the third and it finally cost them. On a Tyson Barrie tripping penalty, Vancouver made it 2-1. The goal was scored by new comer Oliver Ekman-Larsson at 12:28 of the 3rd, and was assisted by Connor Garland and Nils Hoglander.
As the period was winding down, the Canucks were pressuring hard. Than with just 2:49 to play, defenseman Quinn Hughes threw a sneaky wrister from the half wall that found it’s way in.
The overtime was back and forth the whole 5 minutes of 3 on 3.
The closest chance came from Canucks Tanner Pearson on a partial breakaway. Oilers goalie Mike Smith made a nice low save to stop Pearson’s five hole attempt.
Vancouver did a terrific job of containing the dynamic duo of McDavid and Draisaitl who are usually very dangerous in 3 on 3 overtime.
The highlight of the shootout was a sprawling glove save by Mike Smith on Canucks star Elias Pettersson.
|Draisaitl (No Goal)||Pettersson (No Goal)|
|McDavid (No Goal)||Miller (No Goal)|
|Barrie (No Goal)||Garland (No Goal)|
|Nugent-Hopkins (Goal)||Horvat (Goal)|
|Turris (Goal)||Pearson (No Goal)|
The shootout ended up going 5 rounds with Kyle Turris having the eventual winner.
5 Takeaways from the Game
1. The new guy Zach Hyman looked very good. Along with 1 goal, he was all over the ice creating good scoring chances. He will fit in perfectly on an already lethal power play unit. He’s also a lot faster of a skater than I’ve noticed before.
2. Although I love when Leon and Connor play together.. it has to be in smaller samples. Both are franchise players who should be leading their own lines, especially with the addition of Hyman in the top 6. After a penalty kill or when the team is trailing in the 3rd seems like the best opportunities to play them together. Tippet needs to spread the offense out at 5 on 5. (But at the same time, I’m no NHL coach)
3. Both Mike Smith and Thatcher Demko played lights out all game. The final shots ended 38-34 in favour of the Canucks, so both goalies were on their game.
4. The pairing of Keith and Ceci weren’t as bad as expected. Keith took a big hit in the second period and ended up needing stitches on his forehead. With sheltered minutes the two had a decent game and hopefully can keep it up.
5. I think Vancouver fans should be super excited about their team. They have young studs at every position with Pettersson (C), Hughes (D) and Demko (G). This team will definitely be able to contend in the Pacific Division soon and maybe even snag a playoff spot this season.
Edmonton’s next game is Saturday the 16th where they will host the Calgary Flames. There’s no bigger rivalry in the NHL than the Battle of Alberta, so I expect it to be a great game.Embed from Getty Images