The Goods: Streak snapped

Sunday, 03.04.2011 / 1:40 AM / Features
By Derek Jory

The first of back-to-back games against the Edmonton Oilers was not one the Vancouver Canucks will look back on fondly.

The Canucks were upended 4-1 by the Oilers Saturday night at Rogers Arena to end a five-game winning streak for the recently crowned Presidents’ Trophy champions, who didn’t live up to the hype versus the NHL’s cellar dwellers.

On paper this game was a colossal mismatch with Vancouver and Edmonton separated by a whopping 56 points, but on the ice the underdogs had bite and once the Oilers had the Canucks behind the eight ball, it was game over.

Just how bad did the Canucks play? Henrik Sedin believes that Vancouver’s game was 95 per cent up to par and that simply wasn’t enough.

“We were five per cent off on everything we did and you can’t have that in this league,” said the Canucks captain, who had an assist on the night.

“Positionally I thought we were pretty good, passing was off and making the right decisions at the lines was off and that cost us a few goals.”

Cory Schneider stopped 30 shots in the loss, his first in seven starts, and he shouldered a share of the blame in losing to a team the Canucks had no business losing to.

Kurtis Foster beat Schneider on the power play late in the first period with a shot that rang off both posts and dipped over the goal line, before the Oilers made it 2-0 just 2:53 into the second frame, again on the power play.

Jordan Eberle’s team-leading 18th goal of the season, a sharp-angle shot that fooled Schneider, was the turning point for the keeper as he and the Canucks were never able to overcome the two-goal deficit.

Linus Omark made it a 3-0 game midway through the period and despite an answer from Alex Burrows to make it a 3-1 game, the energetic Oilers retored the three-goal cushion with 9:46 remaining.

Post-game, Schneider was still peeved about Eberle’s game-winning goal.

“I felt alright, I had to make some tough saves, but the second one was one I should make in my sleep, it just got tangled up in my post there and that’s a goal I have to stop,” said Schneider, who refused to write this off as ‘just one of those games’.

“We don’t expect to play poorly or to lose, we don’t expect to lose at all, we expect to win every single game and we’re not happy with what happened tonight.”

COACH'S COMMENTS

Canucks coach Alain Vigneault on the game…

“The first thing you need to do is given credit to Edmonton, they were the better team tonight. They skated well, they won footraces to loose pucks, their execution was better and they deserved to win.”

On underestimating the Oilers…

“Not taking anything away from Edmonton because I think they played real hard and real strong, but for whatever reason we looked a little bit emotionally and physically not as crisp and sharp as we usually are.”

On writing it off as ‘one of those games’…

“There might be a temptation to do that seeing as how we’ve clinched the Presidents’ Trophy in our last game, but that being said, I think you can’t underestimate how hard Edmonton played and how well they executed tonight. They played a real strong game, they were obviously excited and motivated about playing us and they deserved to win.”

On Mason Raymond’s play at centre…

“I liked him again tonight, I thought in his second game in a row with those two guys that he had real good jump. In the first period they generated a few good scoring chances and he was alright on faceoffs, so we’re going to try it one more time in Edmonton.”

NOTES

Yann Sauve appeared in his fourth game of the season on the blueline, he finished minus-2 in 12 minutes of ice time with one shot; Mason Raymond and Ryan Kesler finished tied with a team-high six shots apiece.