Canucks seek first win on home ice, host Oilers

National Sports

After opening the season with a six-game trip, the Vancouver Canucks we’re looking forward to getting home.

But that hasn’t worked out quite as they expected.

The Canucks lost their home opener 3-2 to Minnesota on Tuesday, then dropped a 2-1 decision against visiting Philadelphia on Thursday.

They’ll look for their first win on home ice when they play host to the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday night.

“It’s definitely frustrating,” said defenseman Quinn Hughes, who scored Vancouver’s lone goal against the Flyers. “Everyone in the room wanted that one. That was an important game. It’s still a young season, but that’s frustrating. I thought we were going to score late, but it didn’t work out.”

The Canucks allowed a goal just 22 seconds into the game and, after Hughes tied it, Philadelphia scored what proved to be the winner at 6:58 of the first period.

Vancouver got a power play late in the third period and pulled goaltender Jaroslav Halak, but couldn’t get the tying goal.

“Power plays can’t win the game all the time,” Canucks forward Tanner Pearson said. “You have to create a bit of something five-on-five. You have to have it right at the start.”

The Canucks have allowed the first goal in six of eight games this season.

“Not the start you are looking for,” defenseman Luke Schenn said. “Chasing games isn’t fun. It’s tough to do all the time. We have to look at things and get off to better starts.”

The Oilers got off to a strong start, winning their first five games, before a 5-3 home loss to Philadelphia on Wednesday. The Flyers scored twice in the third period.

League scoring leader Connor McDavid and defenseman Tyson Barrie each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers.

“There are probably games we played that we maybe didn’t deserve to win, or the goaltending was spectacular and we got (a win), but (Wednesday) I thought we played well,” Barrie said. “There were a couple we would’ve liked to have back. It would’ve been nice to be 6-0 to start the year, but you can’t win them all. Just get back at it (Saturday).”

Despite the loss, Oilers coach Dave Tippett said he was pleased by his team’s effort.

“That could be some of the best hockey we’ve played all season right there,” Tippett said. “A couple of mistakes and a couple of bad bounces, and we’re chasing the game a little bit … but I liked the way our guys competed. We played fast, created a lot of chances, but we didn’t capitalize on enough of them.”

Oilers goaltender Mike Smith, who has been on injured reserve with a lower-body injury, participated in an optional skate Thursday and might return against Vancouver.

“It’s just kind of day-by-day with him right now,” Tippett said.

The teams met Oct. 13 in the season opener in Edmonton, with the Oilers coming away with a 3-2 victory on Kyle Turris’ tally in the fifth round of a shootout. Smith made 36 saves.

–Field Level Media

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