The Canucks and Oilers’ penultimate meeting of the 2021 preseason was surprisingly entertaining.

Article content

Regardless of the outcome of Thursday’s NHL preseason contest between the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers, there was no question that all eyes would be on Elias Pettersson and Quinn Hughes.

Commercial

Article content

The young duo were playing their first exhibition games of the 2021-22 season after waiting for new contracts. They returned to the ice with their teammates on Tuesday, had their first proper practice on Wednesday, and played their first warm-up game on Thursday.

And while the Canucks lost 3-2 to the Oilers at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the dynamic duo of the Canucks seemed almost ready to play for real.

They were on both Canucks goals and had many spirited matchups throughout the game, including against Oilers superstar Connor McDavid.


NEXT GAME

Saturday

Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks

6 pm, Rogers Arena TV: Sportsnet 360, Radio: AM650


Stars playing angry in a preseason game? Yes please. Does Pettersson make stops in front of the empty net? Wait a minute, this is preseason.

Commercial

Article content

Both teams got plenty of looks in the power play – the game’s first four goals came in man advantage and they took 33 power play shots combined. And with jobs at stake, it came as no surprise that they also pushed hard. It all added up to an entertaining encounter.

“You give that group so many opportunities in the power game that they’re going to find a way to capitalize,” Canucks forward Alex Chiasson said of the Canucks’ first period. He’s played for the Oilers the past three seasons, so he’s well aware of the deadly nature of Edmonton’s power play.

“But we stood our ground,” he added. “I thought the last forty were a lot better for us as a group.”

The Canucks got power play goals from Quinn Hughes and Nic Petan, while the Oilers goals were scored by McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Derek Ryan.

Commercial

Article content

Oilers forward Warren Foegele (37) deflects a shot on Vancouver Canucks goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak (41) during the first period at Rogers Place.
Oilers forward Warren Foegele (37) deflects a shot on Vancouver Canucks goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak (41) during the first period at Rogers Place. Photo by Perry Nelson /USA TODAY Sports

Who do you have?

For the third game in a row, the Canucks wore a lineup that featured players in some obvious audition spots: Petan watching with JT Miller? More doses of Will Lockwood and Madison Bowey? The process was clearly more important than the score.

Trending on Canadian News  Marx

Head coach Travis Green acknowledged this week that with four games in seven days, plus the need for final evaluations on a handful of players in the bubble, it was inevitable that he would dispense his best players.

The Canucks are likely to wear something close to their full lineup on Saturday, the final preseason tune-up before the season begins in earnest.

Nonetheless, it was fitting that Hughes opened the scoring for Vancouver on the power play and Pettersson fired the perfect pass for Petan to deflect his arc.

Commercial

Article content

Hughes’ shot was a unique slap that Oilers goalie Mike Smith never saw due to a screen from Alex Chiasson.

“It is definitely heavier. I changed my curve and flex, ”Hughes said after the game about his shot.

He said working on his shooting was a big focus for him over the summer.

Canucks forward Vasily Padkolzin (92) and Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) battle across the boards for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place.
Canucks forward Vasily Padkolzin (92) and Edmonton Oilers forward Connor McDavid (97) battle across the boards for a loose puck during the second period at Rogers Place. Photo by Perry Nelson /USA TODAY Sports

Dishin ‘

For the most part, it has been a quiet preseason for Vasily Podkolzin, but the young Russian had his best game to date on Thursday. After ending Tuesday’s loss to the Seattle Kraken with a bit of a flourish, he picked up where he left off against the Oilers.

Playing with JT Miller and Petan, Podkolzin hit a good shot, although you know he would have liked to have buried it, in a 3v1 run in the first period. He then ran over Oilers goalie Mike Smith.

A few innings later, he threw a perfect backdoor pass to Petan, whom Smith stoned similarly to his first stop at Podkolzin.

Commercial

Article content

The Russian rookie made another delightful pass in the third period, sliding the puck over the top of the crease to Miller, who was also stopped by Smith.

I love the drop pass

Before practice Wednesday, the Canucks first unit was working on a few extra things.

One element they spent some time working on was their zone innings, specifically a double pass arrangement to inject Pettersson at speed as a disc carrier in the offensive zone.

The Canucks gave it a try on the game and while it’s clearly a work in progress, it could prove to be an exciting wrinkle for their game this season.

Vancouver Canucks goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak (41) saves Connor McDavid (97) from Edmonton Oilers while Elias Pettersson (40) defends during the NHL preseason second period in Edmonton on Thursday, October 7.
Vancouver Canucks goalkeeper Jaroslav Halak (41) saves Connor McDavid (97) from Edmonton Oilers while Elias Pettersson (40) defends during the NHL preseason second period in Edmonton on Thursday, October 7. Photo by Jason Franson. /THE CANADIAN PRESS

A fourth line look?

With Brandon Sutter still absent and Miller seemingly ready to start the season at center, the fourth center line job appears to be Jason Dickinson.

Trending on Canadian News  Free admission: piano, painting and pee-wee

Commercial

Article content

So it was interesting to see two speedy wingers lined up against the Oilers.

Lockwood made his presence felt in the second period while playing plague and led McDavid to take a penalty.

The rookie will almost certainly be reassigned to Abbotsford when the time comes next week, as he needs waivers and would play a big role for the Baby Canucks, but he’s pushing the point that he deserves to be in the pick mix with a handful. of more experienced alternatives.

Green said he liked the way the line was played, noting Bailey’s speed and Lockwood’s lean towards physical play.

“I thought that line had a strong game tonight,” he said.

Goodbye, Gadjovich

The battle for the fourth line was reduced on Wednesday when Jonah Gadjovich received waivers.

Commercial

Article content

The plan was to send him to Abbotsford. Green said before the game that they planned to call him during the NHL season.

But that was not the case, as the San Jose Sharks reclaimed the burly winger and, by virtue of his poor performance last season, beat at least two other teams that controlled the waiver.

The Sharks have a history of turning physical forwards who have questions about their skating into NHLers. Barclay Goodrow is a best-case example, but you can see why an NHL scout made the comparison between Gadjovich and Goodrow with Postmedia when asked what he thought about the Sharks’ roll of the dice.

Most prospects don’t make it, and there are every reason to think Gadjovich won’t work in San Jose. But again, there’s a reason you keep rolling the dice to see if you can hit a seven.

[email protected]

twitter.com/risingaction


CLICK HERE to report a typo.

Is there more to this story? We would like to hear from you about this or any other story that you think we should know about. Send an email to [email protected]

    Commercial

Comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments can take up to an hour to moderate before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications – you will now receive an email if you receive a response to your comment, there is an update from a comment thread you follow, or if a user you follow comments. Visit our Community Principles for more information and details on how to adjust your E-mail settings.



Reference-theprovince.com

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.