December 10, 2023

Casey DeSmith made 37 saves as the Vancouver Canucks earned a 4-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night in the Oilers home opener at Rogers Place.

The Oilers start the season 0-2 for the first time since 2018-19.

“We’re not in the moral victory business, but I saw a response–I saw us way more competitive,” Oilers Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said. “We’re not there just yet, but I think any game you have 88 shot attempts–41 on net–you earn seven power plays, you give up 16 shots on net, you expect to win those games.”

“We have some lapses in our game that are self-inflicting, and I think it’s important that we clean those up early,” Oilers forward Zach Hyman said following the loss.

The Oilers came out buzzing and took an early lead when Leon Draisaitl forced the puck over the line after just 42 seconds. The Canucks tied it halfway through the first when Andre Kuzmenko deflected Quinn Hughes’ power play point shot. Nils Hoglander put the Canucks ahead with another tip-in goal late in the first.

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Connor McDavid dug the puck out of a scramble for a power play goal before the second was two minutes old. However, Jack Studnicka scored on on a two-on-nothing just 51 seconds later to restore the Vancouver advantage.

“There was just some mental error on some of the goals that we need to clean up,” Oilers Head Coach Jay Woodcroft said.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins beat DeSmith glove side on the power play to make it 3-3 after two.

Early in the third, Sam Lafferty sped in down the right side and slammed the puck behind Stuart Skinner. The Oilers had a two-man advantage for 52 seconds later in the third but couldn’t muster the equalizer.

Skinner finished with 12 saves. Nugent-Hopkins had a goal and two assists.

“Goalies know how to play. Numbers lie,” Skinner said post-game. “I thought I played well, besides getting 16 shots and letting four in. It happens and I’m going to grow and move on.”

“He’s like our team is right now–there’s good moments to his game, and there’s moments that he can clean up as well,” Woodcroft said. “He’s just like everyone else that wears that oil drop logo. We can all be better.”

The Oilers will play in Nashville on Tuesday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 4:30 p.m., game at 6 p.m.).

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