So, I remember the Gretzky years in Edmonton. They sure were exciting times in a new NHL city. At the same time, the Canucks were a team of mediocrity at best and pure crap at worst. (1982 was a mirage for the Canucks as the Kings did the dirty work in getting rid of the Oilers) It would seem that déjà vu has occurred except the savior for the Oilers is named McDavid this time. The Canucks are back to mediocre at best. The opening night for the Oilers went well as they shutout Calgary and McDavid had three goals. The Canucks open their season with a weird mix of young guys and some old guys…did I say weird? I meant normal.
The Canucks came out with spirited intro and then came out flat. I mean really flat. Markstrom faced a rush from the side and left a nice big gap between his arm and body which Kris Russell found and scored.
KRIS 'LITERALLY BOBBY ORR' RUSSELL PINCH GOAL ALERT pic.twitter.com/o3Tlgo4z06— Jeff Veillette (@JeffVeillette) October 8, 2017
The Canucks then got nailed with a very questionable too many men penalty. The PK unit did its job for the first time this year and soon after the Canucks got its first PP of the year. Instead of the Sedins being out there, it was Bo Horvat getting the puck and rushing through neutral ice and driving to the net and scoring.
The 4th line then went there and starting hitting. Dorsett went into the corner forcing a turnover, which came in front of the net to Sutter, who roofed it off the crossbar.
The Canucks received another PP a few minutes later and Gagner just missed a chance. Alex Edler decided to make things even as he took a slashing penalty a minute into the PP. Sutter and Dorsett were buzzing around on the PK as well.
The speed of the Canucks was really noticeable. Besides the 4th line, Horvat showed his on the PP and Virtanen drew a penalty on a hard drive to the net with 4 minutes left in the penalty. The PP had more difficulty entering the zone this time as the Oilers were more aggressive on the PK. The Sedins were out on the PP with Vanek, with Edler and Gagner on the points. They had good movement of the puck but no luck…where have I heard that before. Oh yeah…..the past two years. The Oilers killed the penalty and then went on the attack. It seemed that there was always a scrum after a Markstrom save. I’m not sure who was instigating those, but at least the Canucks had some spirit. The period ended 2-1 Canucks.
The Canucks start of the period making the referee check his work as Horvat was able to steal the puck away from Klefbom and shoved it behind Talbot. The referee had to slither back from his review screen and admit Horvat is a goal scorer. 3-1 Canucks.
That was the end for Talbot as some rookie came on the ice like he was ready to play. The Oilers should have started Brossoit as the Canucks usually make back-up look like Vezina winners. There was a 5 minute break to fix some glass and then the Oilers put some pressure on the Canucks before the Oilers took another penalty. Burmistrov got some time on the PP with Loui and Sven, but the PP was ineffective at creating multiple chances.
The game started to get some flow as both sides got some shots on net. Both Brossoit and Markstrom made some good saves on cross ice passes. The Canucks started to look a little tired in the second half of the period and then they decided to cherry pick. Sven was sent away on a breakaway, but was too tired to finish and then Dorsett almost broke away and was brought down by Klefbom to draw a penalty. On the PP Kassian was able to get away on the side and Gagner was forced to try a falling hipcheck which is a penalty…I think that’s crap. After some 4 on 4, the Oilers got 46 seconds of PP time. Their PP should be deadly….but they need the same thing the Canucks need, a great defensemen on the PP.
Then …hockey took over and two guys dropped the gloves who don’t fight. Stetcher vs Strome wouldn’t many to the PPV world and it was a yawner, but good on Stetcher to accept something that Strome really wanted. You can see Strome begging Troy to drop them.
The period ended 3-1 Canucks and it was begging to get a little chippy as the Oilers were not happy with the way Derek Dorsett was pushing McDavid around. I think we can see why Dorsett is playing tonight. He is playing the old Oiler Esa Tikkanen’s role of pest. Dorsett has the speed to almost keep up with McDavid and continually push him around.
The Canucks started the period on the PP. The crowd seemed to be getting on the Sedins as they cycled around to get Edler a shot. I get the frustration…but not on game one. If only the fans had the class of the Sedins. The Canucks PP might need a few nights to get it together, but I would suspect that if this team gets a PP around 18%, it would be a miracle. Without a true quarterback, it will a long year.
McDavid finally got away from the Canucks and only a hold by Stetcher kept him from scoring. The best scoring chance of the PP was Granlund hitting the post for the Nucks, until Ted Nugent’s step son scored on the doorstep cutting the lead to 3-2.
The story for the Oilers maybe the play of Brossoit, as the B.C. kid was stopping everything he could see and some he didn’t see. Both sides seem to have trouble handling the puck along the boards as the ice seemed to be crappy. Jake was able to draw a penalty on the forecheck which led to the 7th PP of the night for the Nucks. I’m not sure which is PP unit 1 but they both seemed bad. Sutter was then set off for high-sticking with less than 6 minutes left. The Oilers gave up a Granlund breakaway which Brossoit stoned. The Oilers where unable to score on that PP.
To show how Green is not Willie…but maybe is…Dorsett was out on a face off in the defensive zone with less than 1 minute left in the game against 6 Oilers, along with Granlund and Bo. There was a lot of time for players not named Sedin. The Sedins had less than 15 minutes of icetime tonight.
The Canucks were able to hold on in their own end and beat the Oilers 3-2.
My Three Stars for the night:
1. Bo ---- just think how good he’ll be when learns to pass
2. Marky --- bad first goal but some solid goaltending tonight
3. DD --- He earned is money tonight, keeping McDavid off his game.
4. Me - I bring wins to season openers.