Sloppy Oilers prevail over Canucks in thrilling season opener

by | Oct 20, 2022 | Sports

The Edmonton Oilers opened their season with a five-to-three victory over the Vancouver Canucks Wednesday night. While the situation looked bleak at the start for the boys in orange and blue, they showed resilience battling back from a three-to-nothing deficit scoring five unanswered goals en route to a five-three victory. Goalie Jack Campbell made 33 of 36 saves in the victory while his counterpart Thatcher Demko made 20 of 24 saves in his team’s loss to the Oilers. 

The Game Breakdown

First Period

The Canucks came out flying early. They scored the first goal of the game a minute and 49 seconds into the first period off a rancid Dylan Holloway turnover inside his blueline. This led to Elias Pettersson tucking the puck in from behind the net. A little over a minute later, a lost battle along the boards in the Canucks zone led to a rush up the ice, culminating in J.T. Miller sniping the puck over Jack Campbell’s glove. 

The Oilers played sloppy in the first period. Bad passes and lapses in defensive coverage led to numerous scoring opportunities where the Oilers had fewer people in their end than the Canucks did. The Oilers were lucky to be down by only two with how many missed opportunities the Canucks had. To top it all off, Darnell Nurse took a penalty at the end of the period, making his team shorthanded in the beginning of the second period.

Second Period

The last-minute penalty came back to bite the Oilers as Andrei Kuzmenko scored on the powerplay with a tip-in goal. The Oilers gained some momentum on their own power play goal. At four minutes 12 seconds into the second period, Leon Draisaitl came off an aggressive sequence with a lucky break where Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes took an uncalled stick to the face. 

From here on, the Oilers played much better than in the first period. Connor McDavid scored on another powerplay goal at 14 minutes one second, followed by a shorthanded goal by Darnell Nurse at 19 minutes 19 seconds to even up the game at three goals each. Jack Campbell was much better this period, robbing J.T. Miller on a chance where there was nobody between him and Miller on one Canucks powerplay, thus allowing the Oilers to get back into the game.

Third Period

Both teams played a more cautious game this period. The Oilers continued their game from the second period, outshooting Vancouver in the period by a count of 10 to eight. The Canucks still managed to get some good chances but were either stopped by Campbell or missed the net. Thatcher Demko made some brilliant saves this period, including robbing Evander Kane on a shot from right in front of the net. 

Finally, with around five minutes remaining in the third period, the Oilers top line broke through when Connor McDavid put his rebound into the net, bringing Edmonton up four to three. Vancouver pulled their goalie on two occasions to try to even it up. That ended up hurting the Canucks, as Connor McDavid buried the puck into the empty net for three goals on the night. Jack Campbell was instrumental in his team’s comeback as he turned away numerous dangerous scoring chances. The Canucks, however, will rue plenty of excellent scoring chances that missed the net.

3 Stars

★: Connor McDavid, EDM

★ ★ : Leon Draisaitl, EDM

★ ★ ★: Jack Campbell, EDM

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