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Demko solid yet again as Canucks edge Oilers 2-1, snapping Edmonton win streak


Vancouver Canucks captain Bo Horvat admits that his goal Saturday night wasn't exactly a thing of beauty. 

"Probably one of (the ugliest I've scored) but I guess they don't ask how," he said. "It was a good collective effort to get that puck in the net."

The aesthetics didn't particularly matter — the second-period power-play marker still helped the Canucks edge the Edmonton Oilers 2-1.

Horvat broke a scoreless stalemate 12:59 into the period after Oilers goalie Mikko Koskinen stopped a long blast from J.T. Miller but couldn't corral the rebound. Several players clamoured for the loose puck and, with bodies littered across the crease, Horvat poked it over the goal line from the side of the net.

"It was all pretty much a blur," Horvat said. "Obviously the shot came from (Miller) and Tanner (Pearson) was jamming at the rebound and I just wanted to get my stick in there and I saw it for a split second and just tried to keep jamming away at it and thankfully it went in."

Canucks coach Travis Green said the effort his team showed on the play was exactly the kind of game Vancouver wanted to play on Saturday. 

"It doesn't have to be pretty. You just got to get the puck across the line," he said. "When you're not scoring, being hard at both nets is key. If you want to score, get to the paint."

Vocal opposition could be heard from the Oilers on the ice, but there was no call for review. 

“I’ve been around the game a long time and eight or nine out of 10 times, that gets blown down. I guess tonight it wasn’t," said Oilers coach Dave Tippett. "They said it wasn’t covered up and it banged around there and ended up in our net.”

Leon Draisaitl responded with a power-play strike of his own 16:59 into the second.

The Canucks had just finished killing off 23 seconds of five-on-three hockey and were working to whittle down the remaining penalty when Draisaitl sent a shot screaming into the Vancouver net from the bottom of the faceoff circle. 

The goal extended his point streak to six games (six goals, five assists).

The Oilers were 1-for-4 with the man advantage on Saturday while the Canucks went 1-for-2 on the power play.

Tyler Myers scored midway through the third period to give the Canucks (13-16-2) the win.

Thatcher Demko stopped 34 shots for Vancouver Saturday, including five during in what could have been a game-changing penalty late in the third period. 

Koskinen had 26 saves for the Oilers (18-12-0). 

Draisaitl said Edmonton played really well for the most part on Saturday. 

“We dipped a little bit in the third for a couple of minutes, but other than that, I thought we were the better team," he said. "But sometimes that’s just the way it goes. We had games this year, probably, where were weren’t the better team and we won. So we’ve just got to regroup.”

Saturday's result snapped a four-game win streak for Edmonton, who fell to third in the North Division behind Winnipeg earlier in the day when the Jets downed the Toronto Maple Leafs 5-2.

Vancouver has won five of its last seven games but remains second-last in the all-Canadian division with 28 points.

The Canucks came into Saturday's game after suffering an ugly 5-2 loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday, and knew they had to battle hard from start to finish, Horvat said. 

"We couldn't have played a better game after what was a not so great game the game before," he said. "We knew we had to be better, we knew that wasn't good enough and wasn't going to cut it and I thought we came out with a strong effort."

Both teams are set to begin road trips on Monday, with the Oilers visiting the Flames in Calgary and the Canucks heading to Ottawa where they'll take on the Senators. 

NOTES: Myers' goal was his 300th NHL point. … Connor McDavid's assist on Draisaitl's goal extended his point streak to five games. The Oilers captain has three goals and nine assists across the stretch. … The Oilers came into the game having topped the Sens 6-2 on Friday. Saturday's result marked Edmonton's first loss in the second-half of a back-to-back this season. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 13, 2021. 

Gemma Karstens-Smith, The Canadian Press

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