|VAN||1||0||0||(0 - 0)||1|
|EDM||0||1||1||(0 - 0)||2|
by Jen Sharpe | edmontonoilers.com
The Canucks scored an early opening goal and then ferociously attacked late in the game after they saw their lead disappear, but it was too litte, too late as the Oilers held on for a 2-1 win Monday night.
Goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made 39 saves in the game, while Patrick O'Sullivan led all skaters with a goal and an assist. Sam Gagner got the game-winner for Edmonton midway through the third period.
The tough stuff didn't take long to develop in this divisional battle. Less than three minutes in, scrappers Zack Stortini and Rick Rypien dropped their gloves for a fast and furious fight in the Canucks zone. Rypien connected on a handful of steady lefts, but Stortini held his own until the end before retiring to the penalty box.
Vancouver went on the attack following the fight, assuming a 6-3 shot lead and the first goal of the game. With goalie Nikolai Khabibulin scrambling in his crease, Alexandre Bolduc went top shelf on Steve Bernier's rebound to put the Canucks up 1-0.
Near the period's midway point, Alex Burrows was called for elbowing and the Oilers got the opportunity to get back on even terms on the powerplay. Unfortunately, the club struggled to control the play during the man-advantage and was unable to get the puck past Roberto Luongo during a penalty-ending scrum at the net.
With four minutes left on the clock, the powerplay tables turned when Mike Comrie took a holding penalty. But like with the Oilers, scoring opportunities eluded the Canucks and the 1-0 game progressed to the second period.
630 CHED's Dan Tencer interviews Sam Gagner after the first period
With the shot-clock tied at 11, the Oilers wasted no time adding another attempt to tie things up where it counts. Only 26 seconds into the second and moments after Sam Gagner was tripped up on his drive for the net, Patrick O'Sullivan concluded Edmonton's surprise attack by snapping the puck past Luongo.
The Oilers and Canucks stayed neck-and-neck as the period continued. Among the big saves made at both ends of the ice, Khabibulin poke-checked Henrik Sedin with five minutes left in the frame but was then called for tripping when the Canuck star tumbled to the ice.
Vancouver assumed a 24-19 shot lead as the powerplay and period came to an end. Late infractions to Comrie and Ryan Kesler ensured 1:10 of four-on-four followed by 49 seconds of Canucks powerplay to start the third.
Shortly after the Oilers attained 20 shots, the Canucks broke 30. Although the home team trailed in attempts, persistence soon helped them take the lead in goals. With less than 10 minutes left in regulation, Luongo stopped J.F. Jacques' wrister, but Gagner found the rebound in traffic and fooled the crowded all-star goalie for the go-ahead goal.
Desperate to force extra time, Vancouver overwhelmed Edmonton in the game's dying minutes. With Luongo out of the net, the Canucks sent six skaters in on Khabibulin and hit the elusive 40-shot mark.
A last-second surge by Kyle Wellwood finished with the puck sliding past Khabibulin, but video replay proved that 60 minutes had already expired, securing a thrilling 2-1 win for the Oilers.
|Steve Bernier (2) ASST: Kyle Wellwood (1)|
1 - 0 VAN
|Patrick O'Sullivan (2) ASST: Denis Grebeshkov (4)|
1 - 1 Tie
|Sam Gagner (3) ASST: Patrick O'Sullivan (5)|
2 - 1 EDM
|Rick Rypien Fighting against Zack Stortini|
|Zack Stortini Fighting against Rick Rypien|
|Alexandre Burrows Elbowing against Ladislav Smid|
|Mike Comrie Holding against Alexander Edler|
|Ales Hemsky Hooking against Alexandre Burrows|
|Michael Grabner Interference against Mike Comrie|
|Mike Comrie Slashing against Willie Mitchell|
|Nikolai Khabibulin Tripping against Alexandre Burrows|
|Ryan Kesler Interference against Ales Hemsky|
|Mike Comrie Tripping against Ryan Johnson|
|SA: 29||TOI: 58:31|
|Saves: 27||EV: 26 - 28|
|PIM: 0||PP: 1 - 1|
|SV%: .931||SH: 0 - 0|
|SA: 40||TOI: 60:00|
|Saves: 39||EV: 37 - 38|
|PIM: 2||PP: 2 - 2|
|SV%: .975||SH: 0 - 0|