The Edmonton Oilers wrapped up their regular season Friday night with a 3-2 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks at Roger Place.
The shootout lasted six rounds with Oilers forward Devin Shore scoring the only goal.
“The last couple have been different in that they don’t have any bearing on the standings, so I don’t think we’ve been as tight as we could be,” Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie said after the game.
J.T. Miller scored for the Canucks in the first period, ripping a shot right under the crossbar for his 32nd goal of the season.
The second period was scoreless. Shore had a great chance to get the Oilers on the board but couldn’t tuck the puck past Vancouver goaltender Spencer Martin’s outstretched pad.
”We didn’t start the way we wanted to,” Oilers coach Jay Woodcroft said. “We were on our heels for a little bit, but I thought we settled in.
“I thought the players played toward an identity of how we wanted to play, and we stuck with it. That’s a good sign.”
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Edmonton defenceman Brett Kulak ripped a point shot past Martin 31 seconds into the third to tie it up.
“To see them dig in and find a way to win — it’s the last game of the regular season, but it leaves us — as we head into preparations for playoffs — in a good mood,” Woodcroft said.
Vancouver jumped back in front two minutes later when Conor Garland beat Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen short side.
Edmonton came back again, with Tyson Barrie’s long wrister eluding Martin with 10:50 left.
Early in overtime, Koskinen shot out his right pad to make a great save on Miller.
“We have a system where everybody believes and has bought in, and I think that really makes a difference,” Koskinen said after the game.
Koskinen finished with 39 saves in regulation and overtime. He denied all six Canucks shooters in the shootout.
“I like the shootout,” Koskinen said. “I practise quite a lot with the boys after practice, so I feel pretty confident when we’re heading into a shootout.”
The Oilers finish the regular season with a record of 49-27-6. They open the playoffs at home against the L.A. Kings. Game 1 is expected to be played on Monday.
“We think we have the best fans — the most passionate and most knowledgeable fans — in the National Hockey League,” Woodcroft said.
“I can tell you, having experienced a playoff run in this city first-hand, I know how excited everybody is for the playoffs, and I know how excited our players are to play to our full potential against a quality opponent.”
–With files from Brenden Escott, 630 CHED
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