The Edmonton Oilers outlasted the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 in a shootout Saturday night in the final career games for the Sedin twins.
“It was special. It was special to be a part of it and to be on the ice with them during their last shift,” said Oilers captain Connor McDavid.
LISTEN: Connor McDavid on 630 CHED
“They’ve done so many great things for hockey and obviously for the Canucks,” added Leon Draisaitl. “For me personally, I was a huge fan of them and I still am today. There are so many things you can learn from them.”
Daniel and Henrik Sedin, both retiring after 17 seasons, were held off the scoresheet, though one of them did score in the shootout. The Sedins received a huge standing ovation from the Rogers Place crowd after the game. The Oilers stayed on the ice for a handshake line with the Sedins.
“It was awesome. We had a chance to meet the Oilers team before the game and they had a nice gift for us,” said Daniel. “It was really classy, the fans were awesome and the team was outstanding.”
“It was unbelievable,” added Henrik. “Like I said, I’ve always enjoyed playing here. We’ve had some good battles and a lot of success here but to get this here in a rival arena, that used to be our biggest rival, we did not expect that.”
There were a lot of moving parts heading into the game. Aside from the Sedins playing their final game, the Oilers and Canucks were playing with heavy hearts with the news of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
“For us, you go out there and you play with a little bit of a heavy heart knowing what occurred yesterday,” explained Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. “It was a great touch by the organization to pay a little bit of a tribute before the game.”
“You can really see where the hockey world comes together,” added Draisatil.
LISTEN: Leon Draisaitl on 630 CHED
Leon Draisaitl put the Oilers ahead on a power play with just over six minutes left in the first period. It was his 25th goal of the season with Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins drawing the assists. The Canucks tied it late in the period on a deflection by Jussi Jokinen.
Tyler Motte made it 2-1 Vancouver with 8:15 left in the second. Less than three minutes later during a session of four-on-four hockey, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins sniped his 24th goal of the season, tying a career high. McDavid and Darnell Nurse assisted.
The third period was scoreless. The Oilers killed off a late high sticking penalty to Drake Caggiula.
In overtime, Henrik Sedin nearly ended with 20 seconds left, but Kris Russell pulled the puck off the goal line.
In the shootout, Daniel Sedin scored on the Canucks opening try after an initial miss by Nugent-Hopkins. McDavid, Mike Cammalleri, and Leon Draisaitl all scored for Edmonton. Jussi Jokinen offered the only reply for Vancouver. Cam Talbot stopped Alex Edler to end the game.
McDavid finished with 108 points to win the Art Ross Trophy for the second straight season.
“It’s good. Obviously not the season we wanted to have but personally was able to find a little bit of success, but we have a long ways to go,” said McDavid. “I have my teammates to thank for everything. They were helping me a lot down the stretch and doing everything they could.”
The Oilers finish the season at 36-40-6.
LISTEN: Todd McLellan on 630 CHED
— With files from Brenden Ullrich and Scott Johnston