Instant Reaction: Oilers blow 4-1 lead in Game 1 loss to Canucks

Vancouver Canucks forward Conor Garland
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
It was 4-1.
That was incredibly embarrassing. The Oilers blew a third-period lead and fell 5-4 in Game 1 against the Vancouver Canucks.
Zach Hyman opened the scoring for the Oilers with his eighth goal of the playoffs, as the Oilers capitalized on their first power play of the game. The assists went to Leon Draisaitl and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the latter finding Hyman with a nice backdoor pass.
The Canucks had a chance to tie it just over two minutes later, but Stuart Skinner robbed Conor Garland on a breakaway to preserve the Oilers’ lead.
In the last series against the Los Angeles Kings, the Oilers’ forwards targeted right-shot defenceman Drew Doughty for the entirety of the series. It looks like the same will happen with Quinn Hughes, as Hyman and Evander Kane both hit him pretty hard in the first period.
Towards the end of the first period, Ian Cole had a horrendous turn, giving up the puck to Draisaitl. He passed it back to the point to Mattias Ekholm, who blasted it past Artūrs Šilovs thanks to a double screen from the Canucks defence.
Early in the second period, the Canucks cut the Oilers lead in half after a fortunate bounce off the boards landed on the stick of Dakota Joshua, who was able to easily beat Skinner.
Cody Ceci, of all players, scored his first goal of the playoffs as Derek Ryan dropped it back to him, with the Ottawa native blasting it by Šilovs to give Edmonton a 3-1 lead.
Shortly after, Hyman scored his second goal of the game as his shot was deflected by a Canucks defending, finding its way under Šilovs’ pad to give the Oilers a 4-1 lead.
However, the Canucks found their way back on the board as Elias Lindholm attempted to pass it from behind the net, bouncing off Skinner’s stick to make it a 4-2 game. This is one that Skinner needs to save.
Another one that Skinner needed to save was early in the third period, as Brock Boeser’s shot pass was deflected by J.T. Miller on the doorstep, meaning that the Oilers’ lead was whittled down to one.
The Canucks would tie the game with six minutes left in the third period, as Skinner was screened by a few Oilers players, allowing a Nikita Zadorov blast to beat the Oilers’ netminder.
Shortly after, the Canucks took the lead, as Darnell Nurse was beaten clean by Conor Garland, who faked a slap shot and tucked it by Skinner, making it a 5-4 game.

Things worth mentioning…

Stuart Skinner had a brutal game. Not all the goals can be pinned on him, but goals two, three, and five need to be saved, especially when the team in front of you scored four goals. The good news is that after another game that ended 5-4 this playoffs, Skinner rebounded in a big way. Hopefully, the same can happen on Friday.
The Oilers needed to shoot the puck, as they were stuck on 14 shots on goal for over 22 minutes. Which is nice and all if they didn’t blow a 4-1 lead.
Leon Draisaitl missed the end of the second period after taking a bump while protecting the puck. After taking a very brief shift, he headed down the tunnel, but would eventually return for the third period.
The Oilers penalty kill remains perfect, as they killed off all three penalties they took. One of those penalties was Skinner touching the puck in the no-no trapezoid zone. Not great.
Up next: The Oilers return to action on Friday at 8:00 PM MT for Game 2. They cannot afford to blow a 4-1 lead, they cannot afford to fail to shoot it on the puck for nearly 23 minutes. Get it together.

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