EDMONTON – Chris Tanev couldn’t have had much better timing in scoring his first-career NHL goal.
Tanev scored with just 19.3 seconds remaining in overtime to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 come-from-behind victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Monday for their season-high third win in a row.
With just 2:17 remaining and the Oilers holding a 2-1 lead, the Canucks were able to tie the game up on a long shot from Kevin Bieksa that beat goalie Devan Dubnyk stick-side to send the game to extra time.
Naturally, Tanev was beaming after finally getting a goal in his 63rd career NHL contest.
“It took a while, but I’m happy I was able to get it,” he said as he teammates chanted his name in the locker-room. “There was a little give-and-go and all their guys were watching them and I was able to come in off the blue-line and I shot it and I think one of our guys screened the goalie and it went in. I’m pretty happy.”
Vancouver head coach Alain Vigneault was thrilled to see the 23-year-old defenceman get his first goal in such a big fashion.
“He’s a young player who has been with us for quite some time now,” he said. “For him to get that goal tonight at the time that he did to win us the win was very good for the whole group. Everybody was really happy for him.”
Taylor Hall was awarded a penalty shot for the Oilers with 2:47 gone in OT after being hooked down by Daniel Sedin on a breakaway, but Hall was stopped by Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo, who finished with 23 saves.
Jannik Hansen also scored in regulation for the Canucks (5-2-2), who extended their lead atop the Northwest Division.
The win gave Vancouver a bit of revenge from the first time the two teams met this season when Edmonton came from behind 2-0 to win 3-2 in a shootout.
Ales Hemsky and Ryan Smyth replied for the Oilers (4-3-2), who have lost three in a row. Dubnyk, meanwhile, stopped 37 shots.
“It was very disappointing how the game ended up,” said Oilers head coach Ralph Krueger. “After the onslaught we faced in the second period, we felt we were in the better position and everybody was working hard to fill in for (game injuries to Mark Fistric and Shawn Horcoff).
“We had lots of blocked shots and a lot of effort from everybody. It was really disappointing not only to end up in overtime, but to lose out on a point.”
The first period was largely uneventful until late in the frame when the Oilers struck on the power play. Nail Yakupov made a nice chip pass and Hemsky hustled to beat Jason Garrison to the puck before undressing Luongo with a deke for his third goal of the season.
The Oilers made it 2-0 eight minutes into the second as Anton Lander picked off a pass at the Canucks blue-line while shorthanded and sent it to Smyth in front. His shot was partially blocked by Alex Edler but still managed to dribble its way into the Vancouver net.
The Canucks got on the board four minutes later after a good battle by Hansen culminated in his shot from behind the goal-line catching Dubnyk off guard, going in off his arm.
Vancouver held a 21-12 shot advantage after 40 minutes.
The Canucks had a good chance to tie it up five minutes into the third period on a tipped shot in front of the net by Alex Burrows, but Dubnyk was able to make a leaping save.
Luongo matched that with a point-blank save on Jordan Eberle with nine minutes to play.
“We started off a bit slow, but halfway through the second we picked it up,” Tanev said. “It was good game tonight, so it was nice to get it in overtime. It’s good that we came back, I think we showed some character.”
The Oilers play host to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. The Canucks are off until Thursday when they take on the Wild in Minnesota.
Notes: It was the second of five meetings between the divisional rivals this season. Edmonton won the first meeting 3-2 in a shootout to open its season. … Luongo made his fourth consecutive start, despite off-season talk that he had been overtaken for the starting job by Cory Schneider and was likely to be traded. … Dubnyk has started every game this season. … Edmonton defenceman Ryan Whitney was a healthy scratch, saying it was the first time in his career to be so. … Horcoff returned from missing two games for the Oilers with a strained neck, but left the game in the second period with a hand injury that was described as being potentially long term. Fellow Oilers centre Eric Belanger will miss at least a week with two broken toes. Magnus Paajarvi was called back up from the farm to fill his spot in the lineup. … The Canucks are still playing without David Booth (strained groin), who is expected to miss another 2-4 weeks. Vancouver is also still without Ryan Kesler, on injury reserve following surgery on his wrist and shoulder, however he did practise with the team on Sunday. … Fistric left the game with a back injury and is listed as day-to-day.