But the Canucks got it done, grinding out a narrow 2-1 decision
over the Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Tuesday.
The Canucks were without coach John Tortorella, who missed the game
to serve the first game of a six-game suspension for trying to get
into the Calgary Flames dressing room during the first intermission
Saturday in Vancouver. Tortorella, enraged after Calgary coach Bob
Hartley sent his tough guys out for the opening faceoff and a line
brawl broke out, tried getting at Hartley between periods, resulting
in an embarrassing, and costly, melee.
Center Henrik Sedin, meanwhile, saw his 679-game ironman streak come
to an end when he could not make it to the starting gate because of
a rib injury.
It didn't seem to matter, though, as the Canucks built a 2-0 lead
through 40 minutes and held on for dear life in the third.
"I think we all have to step up," Vancouver goaltender Roberto
Luongo said. "That's what good teams do. When there's guys out of
the lineup other guys have to step up and those coming into the
lineup have to play well.
"Good teams find a way to do that and (Tuesday) we played great
Neither side came in with anything closely resembling momentum. The
Canucks had just two wins in their previous 10 games, which was
better than the Oilers, who had two wins to show for their previous
But Vancouver ended its slump first.
"I thought we played hard, I thought we played smart, the first two
periods I thought we played real well," said assistant coach Mike
Sullivan, filling in for the suspended Tortorella. "We were playing
with fire there in the second, they have a lot of skill and their
power play was really good. I thought once we killed that off to get
out of the second period, the key for us was to make sure we didn't
give them another opportunity."
The Canucks scored the only goal of the first period when Oilers
goalie Ben Scrivens bobbled a long shot and lost sight of the
rebound, only to have the puck bank in off his thigh and into the
It was a tough start in Scrivens' home-ice debut, but he settled
down for the rest of the first period.
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Vancouver upped the lead to 2-0 in the second when right
winger Zack Kassian put a long wrist shot into the top corner
"You never want to get beat by a straight shot, but sometimes a
good shot is a good shot," said Scrivens. "But I have to find a
way to make another save on one of those to give the team a
Oilers right wing Jordan Eberle cut the lead to 2-1 with five
minutes to play, but Edmonton could not get the equalizer.
They pressed hard, though, out-shooting Vancouver 12-5 in the
third, but couldn't get a second one past Luongo, who looked
sensational in the win.
"I thought we were right there, even with them," said Oilers
coach Dallas Eakins. "I'm not sure we outplayed them or they
outplayed us, but I thought the game started to tilt our way in
the third period."
But in the end, another loss for Edmonton. Their 37th in 52
"I feel pretty good about how we played as a team," said
Scrivens, who stopped 25 of 27 shots. "If we convert on a couple
of those chances on the power play in the second it could be a
"It's unfortunate we didn't get the result but there are a lot
of positives to build off. I don't think we should hang our
heads too low about this one."
NOTES: Tuesday marked the home ice debut of Oilers G Ben
Scrivens, acquired in last week's trade with the Los Angeles
Kings, and LW Matt Hendricks, picked up from Nashville in last
week's trade for G Devan Dubnyk. ... A CT scan revealed that
Oilers RW Ales Hemsky's ankle isn't broken after he was hit with
a shot last week in Dallas. It is just a deep bone bruise. He
hopes to be ready to go by Friday. ... Oilers D Philip Larsen,
who's been out a month with a virus they still haven't
identified, is back skating again and hopes to be game-ready in
a week or so. ... C Henrik Sedin's rib injury ended his
consecutive-game streak at 679 games, 754 including playoffs.
... Vancouver LW Kellan Lain, ejected from the game two seconds
into his NHL debut after Saturday's opening faceoff line brawl
in Calgary, scored the first goal of his NHL career on his
second shift of his second game Tuesday in Edmonton.
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