It may have lacked artistic merit, but the Edmonton Oilers were happy to take the win.
Leon Draisaitl scored twice on the power play as the Oilers defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-2 Sunday night to snap a two-game losing skid.
“Obviously it’s not a pretty game, not a pretty win, but no one is going to ask how we won this game at the end of the day,” said Draisaitl. “It’s a big two points for us. It was a gritty effort through the whole lineup.”
Josh Archibald, with his first goal of the season, also scored for the Oilers (17-9-3). Connor McDavid and Alex Chiasson both had two assists, while goaltender Mikko Koskinen stopped 30 shots.
Josh Leivo and Brock Boeser scored for the Canucks (13-11-4), who are 3-3-0 in their last six games.
Loui Eriksson was in the penalty box for both of Draisaitl’s goals.
Draisaitl scored the winning goal just 46 seconds into the third period. He took a pass from James Neal and was untouched making good on a backdoor play.
His first goal came in the second period when he took a pass from McDavid and blasted a shot from the faceoff circle.
The two goals ended a streak where Draisaitl had gone seven games without scoring and three matches with no points.
Draisaitl (18 goals, 32 assists) and McDavid (19 goals, 32 assists) are the first set of teammates since 1995-96 to collect 50 or more points before their team’s 30th game.
“They’re good players,” said Edmonton coach Dave Tippett. “You know they make stuff happen out there.
“I thought they both were really good tonight. Connor really had his legs tonight.”
The Oilers were playing without injured forwards Kyle Brodziak, Ryan Nugent-Hopkin, Zack Kassian and goaltender Mike Smith. Defenceman Matt Benning, who had just returned to the lineup after missing four games with a concussion, left the game after being hit in the helmet by a shot.
“We knew it was going to take a full team effort tonight, especially missing a few guys,” said Tippett.
“I like the way we dug in. Our guys competed hard, our goaltender was good (and) our big guys played well. There’s a good two points and then we move on.”
The Oilers were outplayed in the game’s first two periods but managed to take control in the third.
“We shut them down,” said Draisaitl. “We kept playing forward, we kept pushing pucks forward and we played in their end for the most part.
“It’s a good third period for us.”
The Canucks beat the Oilers 5-2 in Edmonton Saturday night, ending a season-long six-game road trip.
The Oilers went two-for-two on the power play and that was the difference in the game, said Vancouver captain Bo Horvat.
“It’s a frustrating one,” he said. “The power play speaks for itself. If you give them enough opportunities, they are gong to capitalize on it.
“I thought we played really well after coming off a really tough road trip.”
Goaltender Jacob Markstrom, making his first back-to-back start of the season, stopped 26 shots for Vancouver.
Leivo’s goal was his fourth of the season and his second in two nights after going 15 games without scoring.
“November was a little tough on me for scoring,” he said. “You get to start December with a goal (so) I’m happy with that but I’m getting focused for the next game.”
NOTES: The teams played 8:47 from the opening puck drop to the game’s first whistle. Defenceman Alex Edler, who leads Vancouver by averaging 23 minutes, 38 seconds of ice time, missed the game with an upper-body injury. Defenceman Oscar Fantenberg dressed for his first game as a Canuck. The Oilers called up backup goaltender Stuart Skinner from Bakersfield of the AHL after Mike Smith suffered an injury Saturday. Oilers forward Zack Kassian missed the game with a back injury. .. Forward Antoine Roussel, who had knee surgery in March to repair a torn ACL, has rejoined the Canucks after a conditioning stint in the AHL.