October 08, 2016 - 9:06 PM
EDMONTON - The Vancouver Canucks are hoping that the team they go into the regular season with looks a lot more like the one from Saturday's third period than the one from the second.
Markus Grandlund scored the winner and added an assist as the Canucks overcame a slow start to close out their exhibition schedule with a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Vancouver, which was outshot 18-3 in the second period, looked much better in the final 20 minutes.
"We didn't play that good, but we were better and better in the third period," Grandlund said. "It was our last pre-season game and we were able to fight back and get the win, so that's a good thing."
Brandon Sutter and Sven Baertschi also scored for the Canucks, who went 3-2-2 in pre-season play.
"It's amazing how things can change when you focus more on the structure and the Xs and Os," Sutter said. "It's wasn't our best game, but we'll take the win after how we played earlier on. We have some sloppy things we still need to work on, but hopefully we can now be sharp and ready to start the season."
Benoit Pouliot and Connor McDavid replied for the Oilers (5-3-0), who had a three-game winning streak snapped.
"We did some good things tonight and some things that we can really improve on," McDavid said. "I think the lesson here is that you have to close games out, and you can do that in the second period or even in the first period when you have all those chances you have to bear down, so it's a good lesson for us."
After carrying the bulk of the play for most of the opening period, the Oilers finally got on the board as Leon Draisaitl sent Pouliot in on a partial breakaway and he fought off defender Philip Larsen to beat Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom.
Vancouver got that goal back just 22 seconds later when Sutter redirected a Larsen point shot past Edmonton starter Cam Talbot.
Edmonton made it 2-1 five minutes into the middle frame on a power play. Milan Lucic chipped a puck to McDavid at the line and he calmly banked it in off of Markstrom's back from a bad angle for his fourth goal of the pre-season.
The Oilers outshot the Canucks 28-8 through 40 minutes.
The Canucks tied the game on a power play as Baertschi lifted a shot into the net during a scramble in front.
Vancouver put the game away with 2:34 remaining when a soft shot by Alex Edler was sped up on the way to the net by Granlund, who gave it the extra heat needed to beat Talbot.
The Oilers officially open up their new Rogers Place arena on Wednesday as they host the Calgary Flames to start the regular season. The Canucks are off until next Saturday, when they open the season at home, also against Calgary.
Notes: It was the second meeting of the pre-season between the two Canadian teams, with the Canucks winning the first encounter 5-3 in Vancouver… Veteran defenceman Kris Russell made his Oilers debut after signing as a free agent with Edmonton on Friday. Russell, who played for Calgary and Dallas last season, wore Taylor Hall's former No. 4… Edler has seven assists in five games.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2016