EDMONTON - For the second straight meeting this season, 60 minutes wasn't enough to declare a winner between the Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. Monday night at Rexall Place, it was the visitors who came away victorious 3-2 in overtime.
And it was an unlucky hero, Chris Tanev who did the damage, scoring his first-career NHL goal with 19.3 seconds left in the extra session. As a result, the Canucks leave Edmonton with sole possession of top spot in the Northwest Division.
"Playing with a lead in the third period is foreign to us right now," said Taylor Hall, who led the Oilers with six shots on goal. "When our goalie is playing like he is, we should be able to win that game. That last goal at the end, we missed our coverage, we missed our guys, and when you give any player a Grade A scoring chance like that, it has a good chance of going in.
"We have to learn to put teams away, especially teams that are in our division."
Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk, who came into Monday night's contest sporting a 2.53 goals-against average and .925 save percentage, set the tone early. With Daniel and Henrik Sedin working their magic down low 38 seconds in, the puck popped loose to Daniel three feet out, but Dubnyk kicked out his left leg to deny the opportunity.
He was sensational. Again. But it wasn't enough as the Oilers struggled to generate enough of their own chances. The club was up 2-1 late, but gave up the equalizer with 2:17 to play. Kevin Bieksa's sideboard slap shot fooled Dubnyk to bring the Canucks back on even terms.
"I lost my edge a little bit and it went under my arm," said a down-in-the-dumps Dubnyk. "It's frustrating, obviously. They tied the game with two minutes left. No one wants to let that happen.
"It's good to get points. We had opportunities to close it out. But we need to get two and not one."
"We didn't shoot enough in the second and they were putting everything on net," added Head Coach Ralph Krueger. "(Dubnyk) held us in in critical phases by making some great saves. It looked like we did a partial screen on that tying goal.
"Dubnyk battled hard today and gave us a chance."
Hemsky put the Oilers up 1-0 late in the opening period with a power-play goal. Nail Yakupov's attempt chip-and-chase landed on Hemsky's stick, and the veteran no mistake by undressing Roberto Luongo with a slick, crease-side deke to his backhand.
The Oilers survived a 9-2 run in shots by the Canucks early on the second period. Vancouver was poised to make one count when Nail Yakupov was assessed his second minor penalty of the game, a questionable one for tripping at 6:59.
But it was the Oilers who found the net, scoring shorthanded a little more than a minute into the Canucks power-play. With Luongo out to handle an Oilers clearing attempt, Smyth pressured the veteran and forced him to play it up the boards. Anton Lander chased, scooped up the loose puck and pinpointed No. 94 at the doorstep. Luongo got most of Smyth's net-side one-time shot, but the puck dribbled across the line for a 2-0 Oilers lead.
The goal was Smyth's first of the season and first in 23 games, dating back to Mar. 10, 2012 against the Colorado Avalanche in Denver.
The Canucks made a game of it at 12:41. Yannick Hansen fought off a Lennart Petrell check down low, circled to the blue paint and slammed a shot past Dubnyk, who was caught cheating off the post.
Dubnyk redeemed himself moments later, however, robbing Daniel Sedin with a circus-like glove save off the twin's half-slapper.
From then on, it was all Canucks. Vancouver outshot Edmonton 35-17 in Periods 2 and 3, and 40-25 overall.
"We have to get more shots," Hall said. "The bottom line is we have to score (more) goals. Their goalie can only make so many saves for so long before we start scoring. I think we're at 2 1/4 goals per game and that's not enough in a division like (the one) we play in."
"Very, very disappointing the way the game ended up," added Krueger. "I thought after the onslaught in the second period, going down the stretch we were in a better position. It was really disappointing, not only to get in overtime, but also to lose the extra point tonight."
In overtime, Hall nearly ended it was be awarded a penalty shot. But Roberto Luongo, who improved to a 3-0-2 record in the process, stopped that and 23 others on the night to pick up the win.
"I missed my shot," said Hall, who believes he had Luongo beat low blocker side. "Not much you can do there. He's a good goalie and is usually pretty good in shootouts."
OIL SPILLS: Shawn Horcoff blocked a shot in the second period and suffered a broken knuckle in the process. Krueger believes the captain will be out "long-term." … Mark Fistric attempted a hit on Vancouver's Mason Raymond early but missed and collided with the boards at his own blue line. He left the game and did not return with a back injury. His condition is listed as "day-to-day." ... Sam Gagner picked up an assist on Hemsky's goal, extending his career-high point streak to nine straight games (every game this season).
-- Ryan Dittrick, edmontonoilers.com | Follow me on Twitter @ryandittrick
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