The Vancouver Canucks played with fire against the Edmonton Oilers Sunday night at Rexall Place and for the second time in three games, they were burned.
The Canucks fell to the Oilers 5-4 in overtime with Tom Gilbert scoring the game-winner at 1:56 of the extra frame.
Vancouver erased three Edmonton leads before falling behind for good in overtime to finish with a pre-season record of 7-0-2. The Canucks have now gone through back-to-back exhibition schedules without suffering a regulation loss.
Cory Schneider, playing in his second full pre-season game, struggled in between the pipes for Vancouver stopping 24 of 29 shots. Nikolai Khabibulin made 23 saves for Edmonton.
The opening 20 minutes was arguably Vancouver’s worst of the pre-season with Mike Comrie scoring twice and Shawn Horcoff netting a power play score, while Kyle Wellwood replied for the Canucks with a breakaway beauty.
With the Oilers leading 1-0, Willie Mitchell got the puck at centre ice and instinctually spotted Kyle Wellwood rocketing towards the Edmonton blueline. Mitchell’s pass hit Wellwood in stride as he walked in all alone and went to his backhand to beat Khabibulin.
Despite trailing 3-1 after the first, the Canucks battled back nicely in the second to tie the game up at 3-3 before giving up power play goal.
Special teams helped Vancouver climb back into this contest as Salo and Henrik Sedin both scored on the man advantage.
After Salo stepped into a blur of a shot that beat Khabibulin to his right, the Sedins went to work low in the Oilers zone. Sergei Shirokov was the common denominator on both goals with the Russian prospect picking up an assist on the Salo goal before acting as the third twin on Vancouver’s third goal.
Shirokov hit Daniel with a pass at the right side of the Oilers goal, he flicked the puck across the crease to Henrik, who made quick work of the empty net. With two helpers in the game, Shirokov picked up at least one point in every pre-season contest he played.
Edmonton took the lead before the period was out with Jean-Francois Jacques tipping a shot past Schneider, but it didn’t last long.
Just 1:16 into the third period Cody Hodgson made his best play of pre-season when he set up Vancouver’s final goal, scored by Ehrhoff.
The offensive defenceman carried the puck into the Edmonton zone before dishing it off to Hodgson on his right. The heads-up prospect sent a pass right back to Ehrhoff, who deflected it in between Khabibulin’s legs.
Although the Canucks outshot the Oilers 8-7 in the final frame, they wouldn’t solve Khabibulin again leading to overtime and Gilbert’s game-winner.
The Canucks were 3-for-5 on the power play with goals on their first three attempts; the Oilers finished 2-for-5.
Edmonton outshot Vancouver 28-27.