Vancouver scored late in the second and added a pair in the third, snapping a deadlock that Devan Dubnyk
did his best to maintain. The Canucks' trio on the scoreboard and 42-17 shot advantage vaulted the home side to a 3-0 win Saturday night, earning the Canucks their second straight Presidents' Trophy and ending the Oilers' 2011-12 season with a shutout loss at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks controlled the pace in the period's early-going, hemming the visitors in their own end for considerable portions. In the opening two minutes, three shots were put on Devan Dubnyk
-- including a quality opportunity when Ryan Kesler's long-range seam pass connected with David Booth, but the Oilers 'tender came up with a huge save.
At 2:49, Andy Sutton
disrupted a Kesler breakaway, but a slashing minor was assessed. Vancouver's power-play, while mired in a miserable stretch, peppered Dubnyk with an additional six shots; but each one was turned aside.
With 13:45 on the clock with the Oilers not having yet recorded a shot, a miscue by the home side presented Ryan Jones
with a glorious chance to net the icebreaker. In all alone, his backhand shot missed high and wide.
At 9:29, Samuel Pahlsson was charged with tripping Ben Eager
, putting the Oilers' 20.8-percent power-play to work. And with 14 seconds remaining in it, Alex Burrows clipped Ryan Jones
with a high stick to keep the advantage rolling.
That sputtered, and it came to a screeching halt when Jordan Eberle
was called for interference at 11:42. Neither team could create much of anything on the ensuing (and abbreviated) power-plays.
With under four minutes to play, Shawn Horcoff
drove hard to the net to follow up a rebound, but instead of meeting the puck, he collided with the business end of Sami Salo's stick. It went uncalled as the captain lost a couple teeth that needed to be retrieved by Head Athletic Therapist T.D. Forss.
The Oilers went back to the PK when Eager was called for cross-checking at 17:09 -- a retaliatory minor as he came to the defence of Chris VandeVelde
, who went hard into the end boards. Once again, the home side couldn't cash. As a result, the teams headed to the locker room locked in a scoreless tie.
Vancouver led 17-5 in shots with 20 minutes in the books.
Just 14 seconds in, Chris Tanev's long-range wrister from the point grazed Dubnyk's blocker-side post.
While the Oilers were unable to generate much in the way of shots, they began to even things up with solid zone time and quality chances because of it. Sam Gagner
came close when he burned Kevin Bieksa wide and drove the net, but Roberto Luongo came up with a save to keep the scoreless count knotted.
The momentum continued, too. As the period's 10-minute passed, the Oilers broke in on an odd-man rush. Ales Hemsky
made his man miss and centered a pass where it appeared as though Sam Gagner
would have an empty-net tap-in. The problem was, Alex Edler's sprawling effort denied the chance as he smothered the puck at the crease's lip.
And again, the Oilers came close. Moments later, Jordan Eberle
ripped a shot from the far side, beating Luongo but catching his short-side post to stay out.
Another incredible opportunity presented itself with six minutes to play in the period when Hemsky went inside-out on Edler, curling and rifling a low shot on goal. Luongo caught a piece, while his glove-side post did the rest the keep the score set at zeros.
Following a crushing hit by Max Lapierre on Darcy Hordichuk
, a tango in the Oilers end resulted in penalties to No. 16 (a double-minor) and Eager. The Canucks were charged with one, too, but the net gain was a home side power-play with 5:04 to play in the period.
Just 51 seconds into the extended advantage, the Canucks got a goal. Dubnyk made the initial save on a point shot, but the rebound he kicked into the slot was promptly deposited upstairs by Henrik Sedin. He hadn't scored since Feb. 19 vs. Edmonton at Rexall Place.
With 20 seconds remaining in the penalty, Ryan Jones
was sprung on a partial break. He attempted a forehand-backhand deke, but he was hacked and whacked at by Edler all the way, disrupting his rhythym and allowing Luongo to make a semi-routine pad save.
Through 40 minutes, the Canucks led 1-0 and were up with a 27-10 advantage in shots.
3:14 into the period, Vancouver extended to a 2-0 lead. Jannik Hansen delivered a pass into the high slot where Pahlsson was able to walk right into it. He made no mistake, launching a slapper past Dubnyk on his blocker side.
At 8:58. the Oilers' comeback hopes dwindled a little more as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
was assessed a double-minor for high-sticking. Shortly into the power-play, David Booth danced inside-out on Jeff Petry
, burst in on goal and slid a backhand shot past Dubnyk to make it a 3-0 game.
With under eight minutes to play, Dubnyk showed again why his never-quit attitude earned him the starting role down the stretch. Appearing to be down and out, Chris Higgins had a wide open cage to shoot at -- but No. 40 made a spectacular diving save, knocking it down with his paddle to keep the score at 3-0; his best save of the season, no doubt.
But, of course, it wasn't enough. The Canucks cruised to the horn with a 3-0 win, earning Vancouver its second straight Presidents' Trophy and ending the Oilers' season on a sour note.
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com - Follow me on Twitter | @ryandittrick