Jordan Eberle scored late in the second period to draw the Oilers within one, but the Canucks' 2-1 advantage was too much to overcome, as Vancouver skates away with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Edmonton Thursday night at Rexall Place.
In what was expected to be a physical matchup, the Oilers and Canucks got things started early. Following a heavy collision in the home team's end, Theo Peckham engaged in a scrap with Vancouver's Aaron Volpatti; they traded blows, punch-for-punch, in a highly-entertaining tilt only 52 seconds into the contest.
Just 2:16 later, the bad divisional blood continued to boil. Darcy Hordichuk dropped the mitts with Todd Fedoruk in another spirited battle, bringing the Rexall Place crowd into the game early.
The best scoring chance came when Canucks centre Andrew Ebbett snapped a long-range wrister, eluding Dubnyk but narrowly rolling past the near post. As the midway point passed, the Oilers controlled the shot clock with a 5-4 edge.
At 9:43, the game's third scrap erupted when Alex Plante went toe-to-toe with Vancouver's Steve Pinizzotto, landing several heavy punches and winning the bout cleanly.
Moments later, Taylor Hall was assessed a tripping minor at 10:36, putting Vancouver on the power-play in search of the ice-breaker. 50 seconds into the opportunity, the Oilers were charged again. Tom Gilbert was sent off for high-sticking, putting the Canucks on a two-man advantage for 1:10.
Just as Hall's penalty had expired, Owen Nolan took a goal-mouth dish from Mark Mancari, cashing with a tap-in and establishing a 1-0 lead for the visitors.
With 5:14 remaining in the period, Vancouver continued to press, hemming the Oilers in their own end for an extended period. That pressure helped the Canucks gain another power-play chance when Jeff Petry was called for holding.
This time, the Oilers were able to choreograph a successful kill. Momentum appeared to be on Edmonton's side, too. With only 1:05 on the clock, Vancouver's Alex Sulzer was called for holding, putting the home side on the power-play.
Although the Oilers were looking to score, the Canucks had something else in mind. Emotion reached a boiling point when Mike Duco challenged Taylor Hall in the neutral zone. Ryan Smyth and Theo Peckham both stepped in to end the proceedings, while sticks, gloves and helmets littered the ice.
In total, 16 minutes in penalties were assessed, netting in a two-minute Oilers power-play that would carry over into the second period. Vancouver held a 1-0 lead on the scoreboard and 13-6 edge on the shot clock when timed expired.
The Oilers added a pair of shots to their tally, but the two-man advantage was otherwise unsuccessful.
With 13:56 remaining in the period, Hall came bursting down the near wing on a partial two-on-one. He kept and snapped a quick shot upstairs on Canucks netminder Eddie Lack, beating the 'tender but catching iron, keeping Vancouver's 1-0 lead on the board.
At 8:25, Tanner House was unable to contain a Canucks point-man at his own blueline. The University of Maine product was assessed a holding penalty, sending Vancouver to yet another power-play opportunity.
At the same time, Devan Dubnyk was replaced with Yann Danis in the Oilers' crease, while Manny Legace entered the game for the Canucks.
The Oilers killed that one, too, and the PP tables turned minutes later. Canucks winger Antoine Rousell was assessed a hooking minor, putting Edmonton back on a power-play that sputtered once more.
With 1:44 on the clock, Hordichuk made his presence known once again with a solid, bone-crunching hit on Canucks rearguard Nolan Baumgartner. Todd Fedoruk stepped in to challenge Hordichuk with another round, but the Oilers' tough-guy declined. Edmonton was put back on the man-advantage when Fedoruk's unsportsmanlike conduct penalty hit the board.
Shorthanded, it was the Canucks who cashed. On a two-on-one, Mike Duco released a shot, collected his own rebound and popped it through Danis for the 2-0 marker.
Still on the power-play, the Oilers cut the Canucks' lead. Jordan Eberle took a clever feed from Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, slicing through the zone and undressing Legace with a tricky backhand with only 35.6 seconds to play in the period.
With 40 minutes in the books, Vancouver led 2-1 and was in possession of a 23-15 advantage on the shot clock.
The third period began with the same viscious energy that ignited the earlier periods. At 3:00, Fedoruk and Hordichuk went toe-to-toe once more in another highly-spirited bout. Hordichuk also picked up a slashing minor on the play, sending the Canucks back to the power-play.
The Oilers orchestrated another strong kill, and the Canucks' success rate dropped to 20-percent with the man-advantage.
With 4:31 to play, the Oilers had closed the shot total to a 27-20 disadvantage and were sent back to the power-play when Ryan Parent was charged for roughing.
The Oilers' comeback quest stalled on this opportunity and, although Danis was pulled for an extra-attacker in the final minute, the equalizer could not be recorded.
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