EDMONTON, Alberta -- Since storming into the playoffs in first place overall didn't work, the Vancouver Canucks are going to try flying in under the radar.
Not that they have much say in the matter.
After back-to-back President's Trophy seasons, in which they couldn't follow up their regular-season title with a Stanley Cup, the Canucks are nobody's favorite this season.
They're third in the Western Conference standings at 26-15-7 after a season-ending 7-2 loss to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night and rank behind Los Angeles and St. Louis in most betting circles.
Fine with them, given how the last two years turned out.
This has been anything but a typical year for the Canucks. They finished 18 points out of first place in the West, struggled with injuries, had to deal with a season-long goaltending controversy and battled just to make the playoffs.
While it's been a much rougher ride than they're accustomed to, they are convinced they'll be better for having faced the adversity.
Vancouver's goal Saturday night was to stay healthy, which is why they sat out a handful of key players and used a few others sparingly. No sense risking anything against Edmonton.
The Canucks scored the only goal of the first period and took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission on a power-play goal from Derek Roy. But they looked a lot like a team that was just trying to get the season over with.
That opened the door for the Oilers, who came to life in the final 40 minutes, with Nail Yakupov producing a hat trick, Jordan Eberle scoring twice and defenseman Justin Schultz adding a goal and two assists as Edmonton took a 7-2 lead late in the third.
The Oilers missed the playoffs for the seventh year in a row and the ninth time in the last 12 years. They had high hopes for this season but were left with no choice but to strip the team down once again.
Edmonton finished 12th in the Western Conference, just two spots ahead of where they ended up last year. In the last seven years, the Oilers have finished 24th, 29th, 30th, 30th, 21st, 19th and 25th overall.
NOTES: The Canucks, in resting up for the playoffs, sat out Dan Hamhuis, Jason Garrison, Alex Burrows, Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler. Goalie Cory Schneider sat out another game with an undisclosed injury. ... Henrik Sedin played one shift to keep his 629-game ironman streak going and left the game. ... Vancouver's Ryan Kesler took a puck in the mouth four shifts into the first period and left the game. ... Vancouver won the Northwest Division title for the fifth consecutive year. ... Oilers defensemen Jeff Petry (USA) and Justin Schultz (Canada) have accepted invitations to play for their countries at the World Championships. ... With 48 points in 45 games, left winger Taylor Hall is the first Oiler to register a point-per-game for the season since Doug Weight in 2001.