Edmonton Oilers’ 3-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks Thursday night at Rogers Place was overshadowed by a terrifying moment late in the third period.
Zack Kassian’s bare head hit the ice at the end of a fight with Vancouver’s Zack MacEwen with 3:56 remaining in the third period. Kassian’s helmet had come off during the fight. The pair fell to the ice with MacEwen landing on top of Kassian. MacEwen immediately pointed out to the bank of greasers that Kassian needed help. After being on the ice for a couple of minutes, Kassian stood up and was helped into the Oilers locker room.
“He has a good blow to the head from hitting the ice, but he was in a good mood,” Oilers head coach Dave Tippett said after the game.
“It’s one of those that bothers you. It’s a weird thing. His helmet falls off and he falls backwards. “
LISTEN BELOW: Dave Tippett
“Seeing him like this on the ice makes me sick to my stomach,” Derek Ryan said.
The Oilers’ power play propelled them to a 2-0 lead after the first period. Leon Draisaitl hit home a single time with a pass from Connor McDavid. Later, McDavid came in down the right wing and launched a short side kick that passed Jaroslav Halak.
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The Canucks responded with two power play goals in the first six minutes of the second. Quinn Hughes hit a shot past Mike Smith, then Nic Petan scored with a lead up front. Ryan restored the Oilers’ lead by deflecting a Duncan Keith shot through Halak.
“Obviously getting that goal was huge for confidence, but we felt useful in all situations,” Ryan said of his line with Warren Foegele and Kassian.
LISTEN BELOW: Derek Ryan
“He is really smart. Just read the plays, ”Tippett said of Ryan.
“When you have a couple of big guys like (Kassian and Foegele) that you want to check really hard, read those guys well.”
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With Halak on the bench for an additional attacker late in the third, Smith threw a shot at Canucks’ goal. The disk was about five feet wide.
“I like to play a draw, but I’d say it was more of a straight pull,” Smith joked. “The ‘starting box’ was set a little to the right and he made me shoot it from the right side.”
LISTEN BELOW: Mike Smith
Smith made 36 saves, including 16 in the third period.
The Oilers close the preseason on Saturday night in Vancouver.
With files from Brenden Escott from 630 CHED
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