Game 2: Oilers 3 - Canucks 2 (SO)
Game SummaryLooking to redeem themselves from a horrendous first outing against the Ducks the night before, the Canucks faced the 'youthful', 'talented', and 'exciting' Edmonton Oilers. The first period was fairly fast paced and saw Alex Edler score a beauty. It looked like a bit of a road hockey goal as he broke up a 2-on-1 and led the rush the other way. Rather than send Lapierre on a partial breakaway, Edler kept the puck, hit the blueline moving right to left and wired a slapper past Oilers' netminder Devan Dubnyk.
The second period saw the Oilers press a bit more and out-shoot the Canucks 14-9. Despite the Oilers' advantage, Zack Kassian finished a great demonstration of passing and puck possession by the Sedin twins to put the Canucks up 2-0.
Looking home and cool towards the end of the period, the Canucks suffered a defensive breakdown and gave up a goal to Jordan Eberle with three seconds left. Alex Edler did his best Dion Phaneuf impression here, and Luongo clearly misplayed the shot. Eberle has a terrific shot, but it was a comedy of errors on the Canucks' part for sure.
The third period saw the Canucks squander the power play chances, and Ales Hemsky made them pay with a tying goal on the Oilers' PP chance. As the game went to a shootout, Canucks' fans worst fears came to fruition. Two failed attempts at one end and two goals at the other. Canucks fall 3-2 in the shootout.
Three UpZack Kassian: Playing in the AHL for the past few months seems to have helped the rugged young winger. Kassian was the Canucks' leader on the ice tonight. Scoring a goal, generating multiple chances and scrapping with Ben Eager all showed the passion and toughness that GM Mike Gillis saw when he traded Cody Hodgson away to land Kassian last year.
Dale Weise: For the second night in a row, Weise made use of his speed and was all over the ice. His hard work and great play even landed him a few shifts with the Sedin twins in the third period. It appears he came back from his time in the Netherlands with some new found confidence and speed.
Mason Raymond: Call me crazy, but Raymond is playing good hockey. Fesity on the forecheck, willing to go to the dirty areas, and making smart plays, Raymond was one of the good guys tonight. Would be good to see him make some more contributions on the scoreboard, but Vigneault is probably happy with his play early on this year.
Three DownKeith Ballard: A horrible giveaway to Shaun Horcoff and some awkward passes to Chris Tanev left the Rogers Arena faithful a bit nervous whenever he had the puck. Everyone hopes Ballard can regain his form this year and be a steadying influence on the blue line, but early returns are not good.
Special Teams: Veteran teams score timely goals and take advantage of their opportunities. The Canucks failed to do both. Multiple power play attempts went unconverted and allowed to Oilers to stay within a goal. Then, when the Oilers got their chance with the man advantage, Ales Hemsky converted. Vancouver has allowed powerplay goals on 4/7 opportunities this year.
Roberto Luongo: Despite a 30 save performance that featured a few good saves to bail out defenders, Luongo deserves some criticism for the goals he allowed and his shootout performance. Eberle's goal with three seconds left in the 2nd period featured horrible positioning by Luongo, as he leaned into the post to protect the short-side, leaving the far side wide open. Hemsky's goal also went under Luongo's arm, while the shootout featured a classic "Just stop one!!!" feeling from this Canucks fan.
Final ThoughtsThe Canucks offered a far more disciplined and systematic approach to tonight's game, but failed to capitalize on opportunities and failed to get a good timely save when they needed it. By giving up a goal in the dying seconds of a period, failing to convert power play opportunities and blowing a 2-0 lead, the Canucks looked like the team of kids tonight.
Roberto Luongo could have potentially won his starting job back with a great effort tonight, but the two goals allowed and the shootout performance open the door for Cory Schneider to start their next game. The Canucks enjoy an embarrassment of riches between the pipes, but two games into the season the goaltending looks to be just embarrassing.
Of course, goaltenders' mistakes are often magnified above those of position players, but the Canucks better find some league leading goaltending soon or they'll be mixed up with the rest of the conference fighting for their playoff lives.
On the bright side, Zack Kassian played his best game as a Canuck - and it was a great game. Many scoring chances, a nice goal, some big hits and a beauty of a fight. Let's see Cody Hodgson bloody Ben Eager.