Although the flavour of this game was entirely different, the result, unfortunately, was the same as the last meeting between the Canucks and the Oilers.
After losing last week in a shootout, in a game where no goals were scored, the Canucks lost again to the Oil in the Bettman tiebreaker, in a game where the teams traded four goals apiece during regulation play.
Unlike last week’s game, however, in which the Canucks completely dominated the Oilers for most of it, the Canucks can count themselves lucky that they somehow managed to escape Rexall Place with even a single point last night.
For the first two periods, the Canucks’ offence was flaccid, their play undisciplined, and their work ethic infuriatingly poor. Indeed, if it were not for Roberto Luongo, who was sensational in the second period in particular, this game would not have been close.
Though the Canucks surprisingly took the lead early in the third period on a terrific goal by Markus Naslund, a sense of foreboding remained. Sure enough, the Canucks took a penalty immediately after the goal, allowing Dustin Penner to tie the game up, 4-4.
Unfortunately, after the team’s traded chances in overtime, it was on to the shootout. For whatever reason, the Canucks have demonstrated a disturbing inability to perform even remotely well in shootouts this year (Luongo excepted).
In fact, in the two shootouts against the Oilers in the span of a week, the Canucks have scored only once (Trevor Linden, last night) on seven opportunities. Quite simply, they have not been good enough.
I suspect, however, that the Canucks will be happy to take the point on the road. They, admittedly, did not deserve to win the game, so perhaps this is a reasonable perspective. At the end of the season, it is the points gained in games where you are not at your best that might separate the playoff teams from those on the outside looking in.
I suppose, then, that this should be viewed as a point gained rather than a point lost.