Sports

Canucks beat Oilers 5-4 in Game 1

Dakota Joshua had a goal and two assists and the Vancouver Canucks scored three third-period goals to claw out a 5-4 comeback victory over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their second-round playoff series Wednesday.

Nikita Zadorov and Elias Lindholm each scored and contributed a helper for Vancouver, while J.T. Miller and Conor Garland also found the back of the net. Carson Soucy registered a pair of assists

The Oilers took a 4-2 lead into the final frame, thanks to two goals from Zach Hyman, and one each from Mattias Ekholm and Cody Ceci. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Leon Draisaitl both had two assists.

After registering just five shots in the first period, Vancouver outshot the visiting side 19-7 across the second and third.

The Canucks got 13 saves from rookie goalie Arturs Silovs and Stuart Skinner stopped 19 of 24 shots for the Oilers.

Edmonton was coming off of six days rest after ousting the L.A. Kings in a five-game, first-round series. Vancouver eliminated the Nashville Predators in Game 6 on Friday.

An early penalty proved costly for the Canucks. Vancouver was called for too many men just 40 seconds into the game and Edmonton’s potent power play got to work.

Nugent-Hopkins sent Hyman a pass across the top of the crease and the winger unleashed a one-timer from a sharp angle, tucking the puck in under the crossbar for his eighth goal of the post-season at 2:11.

Edmonton was 1 for 1 on the power play and Vancouver went 0 for 3.

The Canucks had a prime opportunity minutes later when Garland sprinted down the ice on a breakaway and tried to chip a backhanded shot up and over Skinner’s pad. The goalie read the play and poked the puck out of harm’s way.

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Edmonton went up 2-0 midway through the opening frame after Vancouver’s Ian Cole tried to bank a pass off the end boards, only to see Draisaitl scoop up the puck instead.

Draisaitl delivered a pass to Ekholm and the veteran defenceman launched a shot from above the faceoff circle, sending the puck soaring in over Silovs’ shoulder.

The assist was Draisaitl’s second of the game. He has points in all six of Edmonton’s playoff games this season, with five goals and seven assists in all.

Vancouver cut the deficit to a single goal 53 seconds into the second period.

Cole fired a shot over the Edmonton net and the puck ricocheted off the end boards to Joshua. The big winger swept it off the goal line, sending a wrist shot in behind Skinner to make it 2-1 with his third goal of the playoffs.

The Canucks continued to press and had a flurry of chances midway through the period, but the Oilers boosted their lead to 3-1 at the 12:26 mark.

A long shot from Ceci hit Cole’s arm in front of the net and sailed in past Silovs for the defenceman’s first goal of the post-season.

Just 45 seconds later, Hyman put Edmonton up 4-1 with a shot that hit the stick of Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers and skittered under Silovs’ pad.

The goal drew a rare display of emotion from the 23-year-old Latvian netminder, who slammed his stick on the ice in apparent frustration.

Hyman has a league-leading nine goals this post-season.

Connor McDavid registered an assist on the play and extended his point streak to six straight playoff games (one goal, 12 assists).

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Lindholm closed out the period with Vancouver’s second goal of the game, making like he was going to pass from behind the net before ticking a backhanded shot into the side of the Edmonton net at 17:01. The goal was Lindholm’s third of the post-season.

The Canucks cut the Oilers’ lead to 4-3 during a stretch of 4-on-4 hockey midway through the third after Zadorov was called for cross-checking and Draisaitl was sent to the box for slashing.

Brock Boeser sent a pass to Miller at the goal line and the puck bounced off Miller’s stick, then in over Skinner’s glove at 8:38.

The goal — Miller’s second of the playoffs — prompted enthusiastic chants of “J-T Mill-er!” throughout Rogers Arena.

Zadorov buried his third of the post-season 13:47 into the third with a long shot into the top corner that knotted the score at 4-4.

The crowd erupted 39 seconds later when Garland picked off a pass at centre ice and went one-on-one with Darnell Nurse. The winger fired a shot past Skinner from the bottom of the faceoff circle to put Vancouver up 5-4.

Edmonton pulled Skinner in favour of an extra attacker with just over two minutes left on the game clock but couldn’t net the equalizer.

INS AND OUTS

Edmonton forward Adam Henrique missed Game 1 with an ankle injury. Connor Brown took his spot in the lineup, making his first appearance of the post-season.

YOUNG GUNS

This is the first time the Canucks and Oilers have met in the playoffs since 1992. Defenceman Tyler Myers and goalie Casey DeSmith are the only players on Vancouver’s current roster who were born before that series.

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Edmonton has eight players (Henrique, Derek Ryan, Mattias Ekholm, Calvin Pickard, Sam Gagner, Corey Perry and Evander Kane) who were alive at the time.

UP NEXT

Game 2 is set for Friday in Vancouver. The series moves to Edmonton for Games 3 and 4 on Sunday and Tuesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2024.  

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