GDB 1.0 Wrap Up: Oilers get embarrassed in 8-1 season-opening loss to the Canucks

Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
6 months ago
That certainly wasn’t the start to the season the Edmonton Oilers were looking for.
Picked by many to win the Stanley Cup in 2023-24, the Oilers kicked things off with an embarrassing 8-1 loss to the Canucks in Vancouver. They looked like a team with little interest in having to play an 82-game season before the playoffs.
The Canucks got out to an early 2-0 lead in the first period and they extended it to 4-0 a few minutes into the second frame. The Oilers made things interesting for a moment when Leon Draisaitl buried a power play goal to make the score 4-1 but Elias Pettersson restored the four-goal lead a few minutes later. Vancouver added three more goals in the third to run away with their largest margin of victory since the 2019-20 season.


Things worth mentioning…

  • The Jack Campbell Revenge Tour has hit a rough patch early on. After an excellent pre-season performance that saw him post a sparkling .971 save percentage and a 0.99 goals-against average across three games, Campbell earned the opening night nod against the Canucks. He allowed four goals on 16 shots and got pulled in the second period. Stuart Skinner played the rest of the game and had the exact same result, as he also allowed four goals on 16 shots.
  • One of the concerns about the Oilers during the pre-season was the team’s penalty kill and that came into play in the loss to Vancouver. The Canucks scored on three of their six power play opportunities and the Oilers couldn’t kill off a key penalty kill situation shortly after Leon Draisaitl had put them on the board.
  • This game was a reminder of how important Mattias Ekholm is to the team. The veteran defender didn’t play during the pre-season because of a nagging injury and wasn’t ready to suit up for the season opener against the Canucks. Evan Bouchard, who usually played with Ekholm last season, played alongside Darnell Nurse, while Brett Kulak played with Cody Ceci and Philip Broberg and Vincent Desharnias formed the third pairing. Bouchard struggled without his usual partner, as he was on the ice for three goals against at even strength.
  • The Oilers weren’t able score at even strength and they capitalized on one of their four power play opportunities. The trio of Connor McDavid, Connor Brown, and Evander Kane had a difficult time, as the trio was on the ice for two goals against. Brown had a few shifts with Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and that line fared well together. McDavid and Draisaitl were also dominant while on the ice together but couldn’t get a puck past Thatcher Demko.

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