Game 2: Striking Oil
Two nights after managing a single tally in their season-opening loss in San Jose, the Canucks treated their fans to an offensive explosion in their home opener scoring six times, including three in the opening frame, to knock off the visiting Oilers by a score of 6-2 at Rogers Arena.
The win evened the Canucks' record to 1-1-0 on the season while dropping the Oilers to 0-2-0.
Vancouver's new top line of Sedin twins and Jannik Hansen, the latter who replaced the injured Alex Burrows on the top unit, combined for six points including goals off the sticks of Daniel Sedin and Hansen to lead the charge for the Canucks.
Brad Richardson, Dan Hamhuis, and Ryan Kesler also had tallies for the Canucks on Oilers' starting goaltender Devan Dubnyk, who was chased from the crease after allowing five goals on 31 shots.
Ex-Canuck Jason LaBarbera, who took over from Dubnyk, stopped all 12 shots he faced in relief. Jason Garrison added an empty-netter for the Canucks late in the third period for good measure.
Canucks netminder Roberto Luongo wasn't terribly busy on Saturday but was solid when he needed to be stopping 21 of 23 shots to earn his 349th career win in his 749th career NHL game.
With much of the talk heading into contest concerning whether the Oilers would be looking to take runs at the Canucks' top players after losing Sam Gagner and nearly Taylor Hall to injuries in separate incidents involving Zack Kassian and Dale Weise in their pre-season clash two weeks ago, Saturday's game certainly lived up to it the hype in terms of its physical play with the teams combining for 60 hits.
The game also featured a pair of fights with Kesler squaring off against Will Acton in the opening period and Tom Sestito duking it out with Luke Gazdic in the final frame.
The Canucks are back in action tomorrow night when they take on the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.
SHOOTING GALLERY OPEN EARLY: After managing just 22 total shots in their season-opening loss on Thursday, the Canucks equaled that total in the first period alone on Saturday. It was the most shots they've managed in a single period since they racked up 20 in the third period of a loss to the Ducks back on April 25. It was still well shy of the all-time team record of 28 shots in a single period set back on January 31, 1991 against the New York Rangers.
UNLIKELY SCRAPPER: If you thought watching Kesler drop his gloves tonight was a bit odd, you're not alone. Kesler's scrap with Will Acton marked his first fight in over two calendar years. His last tussle came in Game 3 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final with Boston's Dennis Seidenberg. His last fight at Rogers Arena before Saturday took place way back on January 23, 2010 against then-Chicago forward Andrew Ladd.
SHORTY AWARDS: The Canucks got a pair of shorthanded tallies on Saturday – one from a player who's used to scoring shorthanded markers and another from a player not so much. Richardson notched his seventh career shorthanded goal with a nifty breakaway deke but it was Garrison who earned top artistic merit with his first career shorthanded goal. Garrison wired a slap around the end glass in his own zone that managed to curl perfectly into the Oilers' cage that had been vacated by LaBarbera in favour of an extra attacker.