Despite a strong start in the first period, as well as 35 shots on goal, the Edmonton Oilers were unable to get past the Vancouver Canucks Saturday.
Kris Russell struck early in the first period, making it 1-0 barely a minute into the first period. Zack Kassian and Milan Lucic each picked up a helper on the tally. However, about six minutes later, the Canucks would come back, and take the lead on goals from Bo Horvat and Brandon Sutter. They would score within two minutes of each other to give the Canucks a 2-1 lead heading into the second period.
Horvat would strike again about 32 seconds into the middle frame, making it 3-1 Vancouver. the Oilers also found themselves outshot 8-12 in the second, and they also took four penalties.
After surrendering three goals on seven shots, Cam Talbot was swapped out for Laurent Brossoit. The Oilers’ backup came up huge, stopping all 19 shots he faced in relief.
About eight minutes into the third period, the Oilers got a power-play chance, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins made the most of it. He scored his first goal of the season on the man advantage, and Patrick Maroon and Russell picked up the assists.
Room for Improvement
Over the course of the game, the Oilers found themselves in the box too many times. Vancouver was given seven chances on the man advantage, and although Edmonton was able to fend off a lot of those opportunities, they scored on one of them.
If the Oilers had been somewhat more undisciplined through the game, they would’ve had more time to create scoring chances, and wouldn’t have had to play catch-up later in the game.
In the end, Edmonton’s defence wasn’t the worst. Though Vancouver scored three times, the Oilers only surrendered one giveaway on the backend. Many of their players served as a physical presence, including Adam Larsson and Eric Gryba, who each managed three hits. Oscar Klefbom also impressed with three blocks but was also a minus-2 on the night.
Kris Russell skated away with a goal and an assist and was arguably one of their top defenders. Though he could work on taking better care of the puck and improving his defensive awareness, he played a solid overall game for Edmonton.
The Oilers will face off against the Winnipeg Jets Monday from Rogers Place. The puck drops at 7 p.m. MT.