The Vancouver Canucks are becoming quite adept at building an early lead … and then blowing it.
The Canucks dropped a 4-3 decision to the Edmonton Oilers at home on Tuesday after jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first period. It was the second straight game the Canucks blew a multiple-goal lead.
“I’m getting sick and tired of having leads and giving them back and playing well in periods in the game and then not playing a full 60 minutes,” said forward Bo Horvat. “Again, we did it (Tuesday) and it came back to bite us.”
Horvat made it 1-0 just 66 seconds in, and then Tyler Myers and Elias Pettersson scored to get up to 3-0. But the Canucks failed to contain Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, the league’s No. 1 and 2 scorers with 38 and 33 points, respectively.
Draisaitl had three assists and McDavid notched the tying goal in the third period. Dominik Kahun chipped in two goals and Tyler Ennis logged the game-winner at 13:25 of the third.
“You give players like that time and space and the ability to take over a hockey game, and they’re going to do it,” Horvat said of McDavid and Draisaitl. “It’s frustrating, but it just shows we have to mature.”
The Canucks, who’ve won just two of their last 12, get another shot at the Oilers on Thursday with the backend of a doubleheader.
Myers said the secret is in shaking off the setbacks, such as Kahun’s second goal, which was scored just 55 seconds into the third.
“We have to know how to respond, how to play, how to get on them and how to get some momentum back for us,” Myers said.
The Oilers, of course, couldn’t complain about the swing in momentum.
“After the second, we were talking in the locker room that if we keep getting the pucks to the net and play our game, we were going to turn this game around, and it worked well,” Kahun said of the Oilers’ resilience. “It was a very special comeback today and we’re very proud.”
The Oilers have won four in a row and seven of their last eight. Mike Smith made 30 saves for the Oilers and is 5-0-0 to start a season for the first time in 15 NHL campaigns.
He let out a yell and pumped his fists when the clock hit zero.
“That win right there carries some weight to it,” Smith said. “I think our team was feeling really good after that game, and hopefully we gain a lot of confidence from it.”
He withstood a late push by the Canucks, who outshot the Oilers 13-10 in the third period and 33-29 overall.
“I’ve been in a lot of games where it can go one of two ways, and I didn’t want it to go the wrong way,” Smith said. “I just told myself, ‘Let’s just try to keep the team in the game here.’ I know we can score goals. I know we can play a lot better than we did in the first, and we showed that, and we got a massive, massive two points.”
–Field Level Media