The long awaited return of Vancouver Canucks hockey ended tonight as the Canucks opened up the 2021-22 season facing off with the Oilers in Edmonton.
The Canucks came out of the gates with a lot of offensive pressure and speed, creating a couple of high-quality chances early on. While Vancouver had a plethora of early chances, none of them found the back of the net.
With just over three minutes left in the first period, Jesse Puljujarvi gathered a rebound in front of the net and snapped a shot past Thatcher Demko’s left pad to give the Oilers a 1-0 lead. Edmonton would take this lead into the first intermission after Mike Smith fended off a couple of late shots.
The Oilers started off the second with a couple of early chances, but all were turned away by Demko. As the period continued, the Canucks had a couple of chances on the power play that ultimately were unsuccessful, leaving the power play as an area that needs to be improved.
After a too many men penalty against the Canucks put Edmonton on the power play, Zach Hyman tapped in a goal off a beautiful tic-tac-toe pass from Leon Draisaitl, set up by Connor McDavid, to give the Oilers a 2-0 lead with 2:48 left in the second.
The start of the third period saw both teams trade shots and chances, all which were saved by both goaltenders. Vancouver also had another unsuccessful power play, pushing them to 0/4 on the man advantage up until that point.
The Canucks finally got on the board with 7:32 left in the game on their fifth power play attempt of the night when Oliver Ekman-Larsson snapped a wrist shot from just in front of the blue line past Mike Smith.
Shortly after Ekman-Larsson’s goal, Quinn Hughes snuck one in short-sided past Smith off a shot from the top of the left circle to tie the game at 2 with 2:49 remaining in the third.
60 minutes was not enough time to decide a winner as the game went into overtime. Throughout the entire five minutes of overtime, both teams traded high-quality chances but Thatcher Demko and Mike Smith stood tall and shined as each made some incredible saves.
Both goalies continued their excellent play during the shootout, turning down the first three shooters from each team. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Bo Horvat both scored in the fourth round of the shootout, pushing it to go to a fifth round.
Kyle Turris snuck the shootout winner past Demko, which was followed by Mike Smith stopping Tanner Pearson’s attempt, to give the Oilers a 3-2 win.
Despite the loss, Thatcher Demko was phenomenal all game long, saving 32 out of the 34 shots he faced. A handful of those saves were off high-quality Edmonton chances.
The Canucks finished the game outshooting Edmonton 38-34. Vancouver is back in action on Friday in Philadelphia where they will take on the Flyers.