The Vancouver Canucks gained a reputation for giving games away earlier in the season, but now they are starting to steal them back.
Bo Horvat had two goals and two assists and J.T. Miller had a pair of goals as the Canucks headed into the Christmas holiday break on a high note, erasing a 2-0 deficit and emerging with a 5-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Friday night.
“It’s been an interesting year for us, to say the least, and we don’t have any quit in us, which is a real positive thing, even though we have games where we have breakdowns and letdowns,” Miller said.
Ilya Mikheyev also scored for the Canucks (15-15-3) who have won two in a row, also coming from behind to defeat the Seattle Kraken 6-5 in a shootout on Thursday.
“I’m really proud of the guys the way the guys stepped up,” Horvat said. “It’s not an easy back-to-back for us with the time change and travel and for everything going on. So, for us to play the way we did tonight, it obviously wasn’t the best start, but we finished strong and (Collin) Delia was really strong for us tonight.”
Delia made 31 saves in the Vancouver net.
Derek Ryan and Connor McDavid responded with goals for the Oilers (18-15-2) who have lost four of their last five.
“It’s unacceptable,” said Oilers forward Zach Hyman. “We had a really good start and were up 2-0 and were the fresher team and then they scored five unanswered. Obviously, you can’t win like that.
“If you want to make the playoffs, you can’t keep wasting points.”
The Oilers opened the scoring midway through the first period when Warren Foegele made a long pass to spring Ryan on a clear breakaway and he was able to wait for Delia to go down and deposit his fifth of the season into the net.
Edmonton made it 2-1 with just 4.1 seconds remaining in the opening frame after Leon Draisaitl dug a puck out and sent a backhand pass across to Hyman, who then fed it through the crease to McDavid for his league-leading 30th goal of the season.
McDavid extended his NHL point streak to 15 games with the goal. It is the third time the Oilers captain has had a 15-game point streak, recording 17- and 15-game point streaks last season.
Vancouver got a bizarre goal just 41 seconds into the second period as a shot by Miller deflected high into the air off of Edmonton goalie Stuart Skinner and then hit his back and caromed into the net.
“I haven’t scored in a while, I was just going for a change,” Miller said. “I saw it went up, and I thought there might be a chance that it was going to go. I actually didn’t know how it went in. I was just surprised and I kind of laughed, because I’ve had a ton of chances and none of them have gone in – and that’s the one that goes in.”
Delia came up big midway through the second period with a short-handed breakaway stop on Oilers forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
The Canucks tied the game on the power play with 1:27 remaining in the middle period when Miller was able to deposit his own rebound past Skinner in tight for his second of the game and 13th of the season.
Vancouver took the lead with 7:34 left to play in the third as a shot from Tyler Myers came off the back boards and to Horvat at the side of the net and he was able to swat it in.
The Canucks basically put the game away with 2:41 remaining as Horvat battled to send a puck to Mikheyev, who snapped home his 11th goal of the season.
Horvat then steered his second goal and 24th of the campaign into an empty net.
McDavid said his team needs to wake up quickly.
“It is a little bit like whack-a-mole,” he said. “One problem pops up and you solve that and then another one pops up. It is just consistency throughout our whole game – five-on-five, penalty kill, power play – all of it needs to be consistent on a more nightly basis.”
Canadian men’s national soccer team star and Edmonton native Alphonso Davies was back home from the recent World Cup and made a ceremonial faceoff. … Nugent-Hopkins tied Jari Kurri for the seventh most games played in an Oiler uniform. … Canucks forward Elias Pettersson was coming off a triumphant return from missing six games with an illness, recording five points and the shootout winner in the win over the Kraken and had two assists against the Oilers. … Spencer Martin got the start on Thursday against Seattle, so Delia got the call against the Oilers. Martin had started eight consecutive games since usual Canucks starter Thatcher Demko sustained a lower-body injury on Dec. 1 against the Florida Panthers. … Also out for Vancouver were Tanner Pearson (hand) and Tucker Poolman (undisclosed). … Missing with injuries for Edmonton were Evander Kane (wrist) and Philip Broberg (undisclosed). Oilers forward Ryan McLeod returned after missing 13 games with an ankle injury.
Both teams are off for the holiday break, returning to action on Dec. 27.
The Canucks will play host to the San Jose Sharks, while the Oilers will head to Calgary to face the Flames, the final meeting between the two bitter rivals this season.
This content appears as provided to The Globe by the originating wire service. It has not been edited by Globe staff.