The Vancouver Canucks went 3/10 on the power play to dump the Edmonton Oilers 5-4 in NHL pre-season play Wednesday night in Abbotsford.
“In the end I thought our penalty kill was working hard, Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft said after the game. “They did a lot of good things. But when you give their skill that much time, especially 5-on-3’s, all that kind of stuff; in the end it’s asking too much. It’s a bridge too far. And so, for us, it’s an area that we’re going to have to clean up going forward.”
The Canucks grabbed the lead late in the first period when Nils Hoglander banged a rebound past Stuart Skinner.
Connor McDavid wowed the crowd seven minutes into the second. He sped through the neutral zone, cut to his right around Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes, sliced in front and lifted the puck over Spencer Martin. With Darnell Nurse serving a double minor for high sticking, Zach Hyman scored on a shorthanded breakaway. With Nurse still in the box, Tanner Pearson tipped Hughes’ point shot to make it 2-2.
The teams combined for five goals in the first ten minutes of the third. Conor Garland put the Canucks ahead but James Hamblin provided a quick reply, converting a pass from McDavid.
“I think the biggest thing is just how hard it really is to play up in this league,” Hamblin said. “It’s not easy. It’s a grind every day and I know that every night I’ve got to bring it. I’ve got to bring it and as the competition keeps growing here, like Woody says the funnel gets smaller and I’ve got to be good every night.”
Elias Pettersson scored on the power play to make it 4-3 Vancouver. Again, the Oilers came back with Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scoring after he fanned on his first attempt from the slot. Pettersson restored the Canucks lead, ripping home a one-timer with the man advantage.
Hyman had a breakaway with 30 seconds left but was denied by Martin.
Stuart Skinner finished with 26 saves, including three on breakaways.
The Oilers play their final pre-season game Friday at home against Seattle (630 CHED, Face-off Show 5:30 p.m., game at 7 p.m.)
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