EDMONTON – Alex Burrows returned to the Vancouver Canucks lineup Tuesday, but it was Raffi Torres who stole the show.
The late August free-agent signing scored three times against his former team as the Canucks survived a scare to beat the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 and pick up their fourth straight win.
Torres’ outburst came on a night where Burrows, the Canucks’ leading goal scorer from 2009-10, made his regular-season debut following shoulder surgery.
“(Torres) has been a real solid player for us,” Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. “He came into camp with a great attitude and with really good conditioning. He’s been doing the right things for us on and off the ice. He had a real big game for us tonight.”
Torres was pleased to have a big night against the Oilers, but also to help his new club get its first road win of the season
“Being a new guy on the team, anytime you can help out in any way possible it’s good,” Torres said. “I’m just trying to keep my game simple so it’s nice to get rewarded.”
After Vancouver blew a three-goal lead, Torres completed his hat trick with a no-look backhander that surprised Oilers netminder Nikolai Khabibulin with nine minutes to go in the third.
Daniel Sedin also scored for the Canucks (6-3-2), who play seven of their next eight away from home.
Dustin Penner, Ryan Jones and Gilbert Brule replied for the Oilers (3-5-2), who have just one win in their last eight games after a 2-0 start.
“You can’t spot any team in the league three goals, or they’re going to beat you,” Jones said. “I don’t think there’s any doubt that if we played three periods like we did the last two we’d be laughing in here with two points.”
The Canucks opened the scoring with a pair of goals just 32 seconds apart to go up 2-0 just past the midpoint of the first period.
Sedin scored his eighth of the year on a long power-play tip-in past Khabibulin before Torres made it 2-0 after a diving play on a rebound off the boards.
Torres, who spent six seasons with the Oilers organization, made it 3-0 with five minutes to go in the first, tipping Kevin Bieksa’s power-play point shot past Khabibulin.
The Oilers finally got going nine minutes into the second. Andrew Cogliano created a turnover behind the Vancouver net and Penner swung in front to beat Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo.
Edmonton cut the lead to 3-2 four minutes into the third as Jones kept digging at the loose puck in front until he slid it under Luongo.
The Oilers tied things two minutes later as Brule took a feed from Cogliano and unleashed a cannon of a slapshot that blew past the Vancouver goalie.
The Canucks next suit up on Thursday in Colorado while the Oilers are off until Friday, when they play host to Detroit.
Notes: It was first overall draft pick Taylor Hall’s 10th NHL game, meaning the Oilers will not be returning him to junior this season. … Burrows led the Canucks with 35 goals last season. … With Burrows being activated from the injured list, Vancouver re-assigned Jeff Tambellini to Manitoba of the AHL. … Oiler goaltender Jeff Deslauriers cleared waivers on Tuesday and was officially assigned to Oklahoma City of the AHL. Also sent down was forward J.F. Jacques, in need of conditioning following back surgery. … It was the first of six meetings between the two teams this season. Vancouver won four of the six last season. … Torres spent last season with Columbus and Buffalo.