Clearly the Canucks are sick of shootouts. So with 19 seconds left, masterful passing from Daniel and Henrik Sedin set up the game winning goal from Chris Tanev, his first of his career as the Canucks defeated the Oilers 3-2 on Monday night to stay atop the Northwest division.
The Oilers drew first blood as Ales Hemsky was able to stay with a deflected pass, bringing the puck back around for the backhand power play goal to lead 1-0 at 18:38. It was hard to be upset about the goal. More than anything, it was a fanned pass from Nail Yakupov that took a lucky bounce of Jason Garrison’s stick as part of a broken play. The deflection slowed the puck down just enough for Hemsky to be able to get the goal. The Oilers have been one of the best teams in the league on the power play, (6th in NHL at 29%), while the Canucks are ranked in the bottom half of the league in the penalty kill department (19th in NHL at 77.1%).
It could’ve been worse, but Luongo was able to make an incredible play while sliding to his right to stop a near goal from Taylor Hall in the final seconds of the first period.
The biggest thing to take away from the first period was the faceoff win percentage, a category the Canucks have struggled with so far. The Canucks won 15 of the 24 face-offs in the opening period. Coming into tonight’s game, the Canucks were ranked 28th in the league in faceoff win percentage (46.5%).
At 8:08 in the second period, the Oilers extended their lead to two goals off a one-timer from Ryan Smyth that trickled into the back of the net. It seemed like just a casual play for Luongo, but it went from casual to lazy in the blink of an eye. By the time Luongo got back in net, the scoring play had already started, and there was no time to adjust. The Canucks will be the first ones to tell you though that a two-goal lead means absolutely nothing.
Just over four minutes later, the Canucks finally found the back of the net. The play started with the hard work of rookie Jordan Schroeder, whose scrappy play along the boards kept the play alive. Then, Jannik Hansen revealed that he has a second job as a magician, somehow scoring as he was falling down to cut the Oilers’ lead in half.
The second period stat category I was most impressed with was the shots. Vancouver was able to outshoot Edmonton 15-4 in the second period. When trying to cut into a lead, it starts with defense, and by preventing shots, the Canucks were able to keep themselves in this one going into the final period.
The Canucks came out shooting in the third period, putting some pressure on Devan Dubnyk with a couple of strong slap shots, forcing him to stay on his toes early in the period. The Canucks outshot the Oilers 6-0 in the first five minutes of the third period.
In the pivotal moments of the game, it was time for luck to shift to Vancouver’s side. Sometimes the shots that you just try to get towards the net take a lucky ricochet, as was the case with Kevin Bieksa’s slap shot that was tipped off Taylor Hall with just over two minutes left in regulation, sneaking into the net for Bieksa’s first point of the season to force the game into overtime.
With 2:13 remaining in overtime, Daniel Sedin nearly cost the Canucks the game. With Taylor Hall on the breakaway, Sedin hooked Hall’s arm, forcing the shot wide, but drawing the penalty shot. Luongo stood his ground on the shot off a pretty lackluster effort from Hall.
With another shootout looming, Chris Tanev decided to take matters into his own hands. The play all started with the work of Keith Ballard and Henrik Sedin along the boards, fighting to knock the puck out. Daniel Sedin found Chris Tanev, who began to float towards the net. The pass was on point, setting up Tanev for his first career goal, placed perfectly just inside the left post.
The win kept Vancouver on top of the Northwest division. Next up for the Canucks is another important divisional matchup against the Minnesota Wild, who currently sit in third place in the division with nine points. The puck drops Thursday night at 7:00 pm.