Edmonton Oilers collapse in Game 1 against Canucks

The Edmonton Oilers blew a 4-1 lead and lost Game 1 of their second round series 5-4 to the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday night.

“They’re a good team and they were doing everything they could to come back and we were doing everything we could to hold on to the lead,” Oilers captain Connor McDavid said. “That happens in the playoffs, you try to hold on to leads and sometimes you’re a little bit maybe too passive. I thought we were doing a good job holding the lead, and they find a way to get two and find a way to get a third there to win.”

The Canucks were nabbed for too many men just 40 seconds into the game. The Oilers power play, which went 45 per cent in the first round against Los Angeles, came through again.

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins set up Zach Hyman for his eighth of the post-season. Conor Garland went in alone on a breakaway not long after but couldn’t beat Stuart Skinner. With five minutes to go in the first, Leon Draisaitl grabbed a giveaway by Ian Cole. Draisaitl fed Mattias Ekholm at the point who blasted his first of the playoffs past Arturs Silovs.

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Dakota Joshua slammed a bounce off the end boards behind Skinner to put the Canucks on the board 53 seconds into the second. The Oilers went up 4-1 on goals 45 seconds apart from Cody Ceci and Hyman. Elias Lindholm scored late in the second when he banked the puck in off Skinner from behind the net.

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Draisaitl didn’t play the latter half of the second period, but returned for the third.

“Obviously lots going on on the bench with that, but Leo’s fine,” McDavid said when asked about the situation after the game.

Click to play video: 'NHL playoff rivalries ramp up between Edmonton and Vancouver'
NHL playoff rivalries ramp up between Edmonton and Vancouver

With the teams playing four-on-four halfway through the third, J.T. Miller deftly deflected a pass from Brock Boeser to pull the Canucks within one. Nikita Zadorov bombed a long shot past Skinner to make it 4-4 with 6:13 to go in the third. Garland then slid a shot under Skinner to put the Canucks ahead 39 seconds later.

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“Individually I thought I played really well up until the third period,” Skinner said. “Made some good saves, even in the third period (I) made some good saves. But definitely don’t like Garland scoring on me like that. But now I know, so it’s all good.”

The Oilers managed just two shots on goal after Hyman scored with 6:49 left in the second. The Canucks had a 24-16 edge in shots on net.

“I wasn’t here for the first three, so I can’t comment on those — obviously I’ve seen them on video,” Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch said after being asked about constantly losing to the Canucks this season.

“We’ve just got to find a way to finish the job and I thought, for the most part, you know you have a 4-1 lead; we’re in a good enough position, that should be enough to win a hockey game and we let it get away from us.”

Game 2 is Friday (630 CHED, Face-off Show at 6 p.m., game at 8 p.m.).

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