The Oilers have seen their season go up in flames once again, are 2-6-2 in their last 10, and despite their win over San Jose the previous night the Oilers haven’t won back-to-back games since November.
The Canucks however displayed their remarkable ability to play down to their opponents.
It’s a common theme this year and it made last night’s result somewhat short of satisfying.
The two points leave the Canucks second in the West heading into the All-Star break, nine points ahead of the free-falling Minnesota Wild in the Northwest and three points back of the red hot Detroit Red Wings for first in the conference.
Here is my Love Em/Hate Em for the Oilers game last night.
1. Respect Your Edlers
Edler made no mistake on his chance and was the only Canuck to score before Cody Hodgson won it in the fifth round.
After the game Edler talked about having some shootout success in practice and being slated to go in the shootout against Tampa Bay earlier this month.
He also joked that it was probably his last chance to impress AV in the shootout, but his goal should mean that we see more Edler in the shootout.
2. More Overtime please
Earlier in the day, Pittsburgh and St Louis put on a spectacular show in Overtime. Not to be outdone, the Canucks and Oilers made use of their team speed in the extra frame to combine for an astounding five minutes of back and forth action.
The pinnacle was an absolutely insane sequence where Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin and Sami Salo somehow came face-to-face with a force-field named Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers then took it back up the ice only for Roberto Luongo to somehow keep a Sam Gagner chance from crossing the line by just inches.
Considering it was the last piece of Canucks hockey we’ll see for a week, you couldn’t have asked for anything more.
The save off Gagner in overtime was part of a series of great saves Roberto Luongo made all game as the Oilers pressed to find a way past their divisional big brothers.
He even came up big in the shootout stopping four of five Oilers to earn the extra point. His finest was a split pad save off Jordan Eberle in the first round that led to John Garrett gushing over Luongo’s long, freakish legs.
It’s too bad the All-Star break is here because Luongo in the past week has been something else.
1. Pulled Goalie?
And yet….didn’t it look like Luongo was in some pain after that Eberle save?
He was very slow to get up and seemed to try to work through it as Mason Raymond took his attempt.
It’s not hard to see how a goaltender with a history of groin problems could tweak something when doing the splits as Luongo did. Perhaps the All-Star break is actually a blessing for a little rest and recuperation.
2. Posts Posts Posts
This game was a truly a game of inches, just ask Gagner or Eberle. Or ask one of the half dozen posts the Canucks hit throughout the game that made this one a lot closer than it should have been.
And if it wasn’t posts it was missed opportunities like Mason Raymond‘s late in the third as he had a wide open net but bobbled the pass.
A little more puck luck and this is a convincing regulation win.
As it was, the Canucks barely survived.
Still two points is two points and a great effort is a great effort.
3. You Let Horcoff Score?
It wouldn’t be a Canucks game these days without a comedy of errors that led to an opposition goal and this one came courtesy of Taylor Hall and Shawn Horcoff.
Somehow both Manny Malhotra and Maxim Lapierre were both cheating up ice to try and break out off an Aaron Rome chip out. The puck was intercepted however by Ladislav Smid and dumped into the corner where Ales Hemsky picked it up.
Since Lapierre was still in the neutral zone, Taylor Hall was wide open by the faceoff circle for an easy tap pass.
Hall has time to walk in on Luongo creating a mini 2-on-1 with Shawn Horcoff and Keith Ballard as the lone Canuck.
Ballard’s default play in this situation is to cover Horcoff but he also doesn’t want to give a dangerous player like Hall a clear path to the net. He ends up partially screening Luongo while Horcoff slowly glides towards the side of the net.
Ballard eventually goes down to attempt to block the pass but Hall has already moved around to a perfect position to feed Horcoff for the tap-in.
And that is you let Shawn “18 goals in the past two years” Horcoff score.