One game after having their own playoff hopes dashed, the injury-ravaged Oilers eliminated the Vancouver Canucks from the postseason with a 2-1 win Thursday night.
Marty Reasoner and Jarret Stoll scored in the second period, and Dwayne Rolson made 12 of his 37 saves in the third for the Oilers.
"It's a great way to finish off the season," Roloson said.
Not for the Canucks. Needing a win to regain control of their playoff fate after Calgary lost earlier in Minnesota, Vancouver couldn't even manage a goal until Alexandre Burrows jammed one in on the power play with 6:57 left in the third. It was too little, too late as the Canucks lost for the sixth time in seven games to miss the playoffs for the second time in three years.
"We've got no one to blame but ourselves," captain Markus Naslund said. "We had a chance to win a must-win game and we just didn't find a way to do it. If you don't win these games you don't deserve to be there."
Especially against an Edmonton team that had its late-season playoff push end with a 3-2 loss to Calgary on Tuesday. Leading scorer Ales Hemsky (knee) and gritty center Kyle Brodziak (broken finger) were both hurt against the Flames. Add those to a staggering list of injuries - a franchise-record 340 man-games lost coming into the game - that includes Shawn Horcoff, Sheldon Souray, Raffi Torres and No. 1 goaltender Mathieu Garon.
The Oilers hadn't beaten Vancouver in regulation in almost 16 months, going 9-0-3 since.
None of it mattered against a Canucks team that blew a 2-0 lead in a loss to Colorado on Tuesday, and was undone by an inept power play that went 1-for-7 against the Oilers.
"The difference in the game was obviously our inability to get it done on the power play," coach Alain Vigneault said.
Edmonton didn't manage a shot for the first 15 minutes, but only because they fired wide on a handful of odd-man rushes. At the other end, the Canucks struggled on three straight power plays, generating little and being turned away by Roloson when they did, including two point-blank shots by Daniel Sedin on a brief 5-on-3.
Reasoner opened the scoring nine minutes into the second period, reaching over top of fallen goalie Roberto Luongo to tap in a loose puck in the crease.
Vancouver had its best chance to get back into the game after Mathieu Roy, a defenseman playing forward because of all the Oilers injuries, was given a five-minute major penalty for hammering Mike Weaver face-first into the boards.
But the Canucks failed to put any of their six shots behind Roloson, who only needed a couple of tough stops before Sedin rang one off his mask as the penalty expired. That play drew another penalty, but the Canucks didn't manage a shot on the ensuing man advantage, which ended with Trevor Linden's slashing penalty.
The Oilers made quick work of that power play. Stoll, who left earlier in the period after a shot from teammate Steve Staois hit him in the face, returned to one-time a cross-ice pass through Luongo with 1:30 left in the second period.
Held down the fort turning away 37 of 38 Canuck shots, leading his team to victory.
| Alex Burrows
Turned in a gritty performance scoring the Canucks only goal on a powerplay in the third.
Scored the game winning goal with a minute and a half left in the second to cement the victory.
"As they were stitching me up I was pretty dizzy and almost falling asleep, but it came back to me," said Stoll, estimating the stitches in his ear at 17 or 18. "The doctors did a great job stitching it up and it was just good that I could come back."
Burrows finally ended the power-play drought after Ryan Kesler jammed a puck out from under Roloson's blocker in a scramble and it squirted into the crease.
“We weren’t a very cohesive group on the offensive side of the puck, it seemed liked everything we tried to do was really forced and we were pushing hard but it wasn’t really happening for us; the powerplay is a good example of that,” said Trevor Linden. “We had some chances but didn’t consistently generate enough to get the job done, that’s one of the areas where we had to win that game tonight on the powerplay.”
Burrows tally proved not to be enough.
"You work so hard for an entire season to have a chance to play for the Cup and it's tough to take when you're not rewarded at the end," said goaltender Roberto Luongo after wiping away tears and taking some time outside the locker room to gather himself before speaking to the media.
“It’s disappointing for everyone,” said veteran leader Trevor Linden who may be retiring at the end of the season. “The opportunity to compete in the Stanley cup playoffs is a privilege and every chance you get is a chance to do what you want to do; to miss out on that is very disappointing.”
It's been a whirlwind couple of weeks for Luongo, who finished with 19 saves in his 30th straight start, struggling during a two-week stretch that included flying back and forth from Florida for the birth of his first child last Thursday.
"Mentally it was probably the hardest season I playedfor many reasons," Luongo said. "There was a lot of stuff going on this year."
Notes: Canucks LW Matt Pettinger played through the flu, leaving Jannik Hansen in the press box after being called up from the AHL on an emergency basis earlier in the day. ... Oilers LW Geoff Sanderson played for the first time since Mar. 4. ... With a win, the Canucks would have faced the Flames in both team's season finale on Saturday with a playoff spot on the line.