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The Globe and Mail

Short-handed tally the difference as Canucks top Oilers

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins of the Edmonton Oilers gets around Aaron Volpatti of the Vancouver Canucks during second-period action in a preseason game Thursday, Sept. 22 at Rexall Place in Edmonton,.

Dale MacMillan/Getty Images

Mike Duco's second-period short-handed goal stood up as the winner as a relatively no-name Vancouver Canucks squad showed up a largely veteran Edmonton Oilers team 2-1 in NHL exhibition play on Thursday.

Owen Nolan also scored for the Canucks, who are 2-1-0 in the preseason.

Jordan Eberle replied for the Oilers (1-2-0), who had roughly 70 per cent of what should be their starting regular-season lineup in the game. The Canucks, meanwhile, iced a roster made up largely from their American Hockey League affiliate, the Chicago Wolves, plus a few veterans on tryout contracts.

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The game got off to a rough and tumble start with a couple of fights in the first three minutes as Edmonton's Theo Peckham squared off with Aaron Volpatti and Canuck Todd Fedoruk dropped the gloves with Darcy Hordichuk.

Vancouver struck first, 13 minutes into the first period, on a power play with Edmonton's Tom Gilbert in the penalty box. Finishing a nice three-way passing play, Nolan beat Edmonton goalie Devan Dubnyk, with Edmonton's Taylor Hall just coming back into the play after serving a penalty of his own.

Vancouver had 13 first-period shots while Edmonton only put six on Eddie Lack in the Canucks net.

Both teams changed goalies midway through the second, with Manny Legace coming in for the Canucks and Yann Danis for the Oilers.

After nearly 40 minutes with very few chances, goals were scored just 17 seconds apart in the final minute of the second.

The Canucks went up 2-0 with 53 seconds left in the second as defender Jeff Petry got caught pinching on the power play and Duco raced up ice on a two-on-one. He elected to shoot it himself and knocked his own rebound through Danis's legs for a short-handed goal.

Edmonton responded on the same power play as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins chipped the puck ahead to Eberle, who scored his second of the preseason on a backhand shot.

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The Oilers had a chance to draw even on a late third-period power play but Ryan Smyth was unable to bat a hard pass into a wide-open net.

Both teams return to the ice on Saturday as the Oilers remain at home to face the Calgary Flames, while the Canucks continue the preseason at home against Anaheim.

Notes: Vancouver's squad barely qualified for league restrictions on sitting veteran players in exhibition games. League rules state you have to dress a minimum of nine veterans with 100 games played and/or former first-round draft picks. The Canucks were able to meet the standard due to the presence of six players in the match who are attending their camp on professional tryouts; Manny Legace, Owen Nolan, Anders Eriksson, Steve Begin, Todd Fedoruk and Niko Dimitrakos. … The Canucks signed 2011 first-round pick Nicklas Jensen on Thursday. Jensen was taken 29th overall by Vancouver after scoring 29 goals and 29 assists last year for Oshawa in the OHL. … Edmonton had a pair of veteran players making their first preseason appearances after lengthy absences, extending back to March. Captain Shawn Horcoff had not played since suffering a left ankle fracture and fellow centre Sam Gagner returned for the first time since a tendon was sliced in his left hand by a teammate's skate. … Gagner spent much of his off-season working on his skating skills with former two-time Canadian Olympian pairs figure skater Barbara Underhill.

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