The Vancouver Canucks have been at their best when keeping the game in regulation. Lately, they haven’t been as fortunate playing beyond three periods.
The Canucks (28-19-4), who have lost three of their last four games—two in shootouts, one in overtime—will try to get a win any way they can as they host the Northwest Division rival Edmonton Oilers (25-22-4) on Thursday.
Vancouver has been successful recently when playing just 60 minutes, winning four straight. Vancouver is 3-2 against Edmonton this season, winning the last two games, including 3-2 in overtime on Jan. 5.
The Canucks lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday, falling to 3-3 in shootouts. It was also the first time in 14 games the Canucks outshot an opponent—37-28.
Despite failing to outshoot its opponent in the previous 13 games, Vancouver was 10-1-2 during that span.
“I guess it’s kind of the reversal of what’s been happening,” Vancouver’s Kevin Bieksa told the team’s official Web site.
Daniel Sedin scored his team-leading 19th goal and Sami Salo added Vancouver’s second power-play goal of the game against Columbus. Sedin has three goals and two assists in five games against Edmonton this season.
Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo (28-16-3), who has started the first three games of the homestand that ends Thursday, lost a shootout for the just the second time this season. Luongo, who has a 2.35 goals-against average, has won his last four games in regulation, but had to contend with the Blue Jackets skating hard to the net most of the game.
“They were crashing the net all night, that was part of their game plan,” said Luongo, who is 3-1 with a 2.24 GAA against the Oilers this season.”They got a couple lucky goals in the first period and after that we did a pretty good job.”
The Canucks allowed their first power-play goal Tuesday after not allowing one in their previous six games.
Edmonton scored twice on three power-play chances in Wednesday’s 5-2 win over Columbus to close out a 3-2 homestand.
The Oilers got a big contribution from their second line one game after their top line carried them to a win Saturday against Los Angeles. Raffi Torres scored two goals and Fernando Pisani, had a goal and two assists. Each registered their 100th points with the team Wednesday, while linemate Jarret Stoll added two assists.
“Sometimes you don’t get rewarded even if you are working hard,” Pisani said. “It was good to see us get some secondary scoring tonight.
“It wasn’t just the top line getting it done. It was nice to see. Hopefully we can build off this.”
Ryan Smith—who is on the first line—scored his team-leading 26th goal and added an assist to give him seven points in his last three games.
Goaltender Jussi Markkanen won his second straight game while making his first back-to-back starts since last season’s Stanley Cup finals. He is 5-3-0 with a 2.76 GAA, but Dwayne Roloson (20-19-4) could get the start Thursday. Roloson, though, has lost two straight games.
Roloson has a 1.66 GAA and a shutout in three road starts against the Canucks this season.