Sunday, December 14, 2008

Canucks Fall Flat To Oilers Saturday

In what was probably their most disappointing effort start-to-finish of the season, the Canucks were very flat in a 3-0 loss to the Oilers in Edmonton Saturday night. It was just the second time this season the Canucks were held off the score board as they were out-played in almost every department at Rexall Place.

The game could not have started off worse for the visitors as just 49 seconds into the game, the Oilers scored on their first shot the way of Curtis Sanford. Dustin Penner broke down skated down the right wing into the Vancouver zone and was able to convert on his back-handed chance to beat Sanford on the short side. Lubomir Visnovsky and Denis Grebeshkov get the assists on Penner’s 8th of the year..

After going down a goal, the Canucks tried to light a bit of a spark with a couple of scraps. Darcy Hordichuk and Zach Stortini had a spirited tilt just under six minutes into the game with both players landing numerous shots. Then Rob Davison went at it with Jason Strudwick a few minutes later with neither player worse off for their efforts.

The Canucks found themselves in penalty trouble as Taylor Pyatt and Mattias Ohlund took minor penalties 46 seconds apart. However the Vancouver penalty killers did a great job to weather the storm and stay within one heading into the intermission.

Penalties haunted Vancouver in the second period after an opening-minute fight between Shane O’Brien and Kyle Brodziak. The Canucks were short-handed six times in the middle frame, but it would be a goal 4-on-4 that put the Oilers up by a pair. A turnover in the Vancouver end allowed Sheldon Souray to snap a pass up the right wing for Ales Hemsky. As he led an odd-man rush into the Canucks end, Hemsky was able to beat Sanford with a snap shot on the short side. For Hemsky, it was his team-leading 10th of the year and it came at 18:27.

Despite all the time short-handed, the Canucks did not surrender a power play goal against on any of the eight man advantages the Oilers had in the game. Early on in the final period, the Oilers scored on a controversial goal. Ryan Kesler’s pass from low in the Edmonton end went out to centre ice where Robert Nilsson was all alone after coming off the bench on a close line change. He made no mistake burying his breakaway chance for his 4th of the season at 2:21.

Edmonton netminder Dwayne Roloson finished off the game stopping 23 shots that came his way. However there were no more than three of four high quality scoring chances the Canucks had on the night. At the other end of the rink, Sanford suffered his fourth loss of the season stopping 29 Oilers shots.

The Canucks went 0-for-3 on the man advantage on a night that saw their record against Northwest Division opponents slip to 6-3-2. The Oilers, playing just their 10th home game of the season, improve to 4-2-1 against division rivals.

Now with an overall record of 16-11-3, the Canucks prepare to play seven of their next eight games at home. They won’t have a long time to mull over this loss as they are right back on the ice Sunday to play the visiting Florida Panthers. The Panthers are playing well right now and will head into GM Place after posting back-to-back wins over the Oilers (2-0) and Calgary Flames (3-2 SO). Game time is 7:00pm PST.

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