Canucks complete Week 1 sweep of Oilers on historic night

Casey DeSmith and Ian Cole embrace after the Canucks hung on for the win. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
Casey DeSmith and Ian Cole embrace after the Canucks hung on for the win. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images) /

Whatever you do once, you can do twice, right? The Vancouver Canucks defeated the Edmonton Oilers twice to start their season, and impressively staved off a swarming opposition to pick up a 4-3 regulation win in their second meeting on Oct. 14. And, Vancouver has started 2-0 for the first time in seven years.

First, some milestones: captain Quinn Hughes celebrates his 24th birthday with a Canucks win, Brock Boeser completes his 400th career NHL game, and Elias Pettersson cements himself in the top-20 of all-time leading Canucks scorers. Pettersson is 13 points away from Patrik Sundstrom at no. 19.

The Canucks were outmatched and outplayed for swathes of the game, and yet they managed to squeak away with Rick Tocchet’s 200th victory behind an NHL bench. They were out-attempted 14-9 in the first period, 29-7 in the second period, and 15-6 in the third. The penalty kill, spearheaded by J.T. Miller’s team-leading 5:52 short handed, was a big part of the winning effort.

The Oilers did manage to score two goals with the man advantage, but the Canucks also killed off  the other five opportunities that were given to Edmonton’s lethal power play units. Vancouver also blocked 25 shots to the Oilers’ nine, and slightly edged their opponents in the faceoff dot 30-28.

The hustle was there all night, and that made one thing clear: the Canucks earning their largest ever margin of victory in a season opener a few nights ago was no fluke. Tocchet has these players playing with their hair on fire, and that’s something that couldn’t always be said in the past.

Pettersson was easily the Canucks’ best skater on the night; he and Conor Garland were the only two skaters to have positive Corsi percentages. With the 24-year-old on the ice, Vancouver led scoring chances 6-1, and with Garland on the ice, scoring chances were even at three apiece.

Moneypuck’s “Deserve To Win O’Meter” changes slightly with every batch of simulations, but on each occasion, the Canucks won less than 20 percent of the time. Newcomer Casey DeSmith stood on his head too, saving 1.67 goals above expected and stopping 37 out of the 40 shots that came his way. Stuart Skinner, meanwhile, allowed 1.99 more goals than expected, but we can attribute some of that to a Pettersson masterclass.

Nils Hoglander, Sam Lafferty, Andrei Kuzmenko, and Jack Studnicka each scored, but it was Lafferty’s first goal for the Canucks on a short side power move that re-took the lead for the third and final time. The two teams won’t see each other again until Nov. 6, and then April 13 after that.

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By that time, injured veterans Ilya Mikheyev and Carson Soucy should both be back, healthy, and ready to go. For now though, the Canucks can celebrate the fact they knocked off most peoples’ Stanley Cup favorites twice in a week with two marvelous performances.