VANCOUVER – Desperate for a road win, Edmonton Oilers wouldn’t go away until the fifth round of the shootout.
That’s when Vancouver rookie Cody Hodgson ensured the Oilers’ road woes would continue.
Hodgson slipped a puck between the legs of goalie Devan Dubnyk to give the Canucks a 3-2 victory over Edmonton Tuesday night, handing the Oilers their sixth straight road loss.
The Canucks hit several posts and at least two crossbars but the young, gutsy Oilers tied the game on Taylor Hall’s power-play deflection with 4:11 remaining in the third period.
“Get a two-goal lead and the game’s probably over but they hang in there and they got that power play, moved it around nice and Hall was able to tip it in,” said Daniel Sedin, who opened the scoring for Vancouver.
“It’s a dangerous team when you give them a chance to hang in games.”
Ryan Kesler, whose line of Chris Higgins and David Booth created most of the Canuck scoring opportunities, had plenty of chances to increase a pair of one-goal leads.
“It was just one of those games where it seemed like it would be a gritty (goal) that won it,” Kesler said.
Instead, Hodgson beat Dubnyk, who played his second shootout game in as many nights.
“It hit my stick pretty heavily so I was surprised to hear the horn go off,” Dubnyk said of Hodgson, who immediately left the rink for the airport and a flight to Ottawa for all-star weekend.
Alex Edler opened the shootout scoring for the Canucks and Ales Hemsky extended it for the Oilers.
Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo outwaited the other Edmonton shooters, including Jordan Eberle who left the puck against the post.
Shawn Horcoff ended a 12-game drought with his ninth goal of the season in regulation, tapping in Hall’s pass through the crease, for a 1-1 tie.
Booth gave the Canucks a 2-1 lead five minutes into the third period by knocking a loose puck behind Dubnyk as he was being tackled by Hall.
The win enabled Vancouver (30-15-4) to move to within three points of the idle Detroit Red Wings who lead the Western Conference.
The Canucks, winners of four of their last six contests, handed the Oilers (18-26-5) a 13th loss in 14 road games in the battle between first and worst in the Northwest Division.
“We’re trying to right ourselves obviously,” said Oilers coach Tom Renney.
“We came up short but maybe we’re getting a little closer to being a good hockey club again.”
They came close in the shootout and late in the first period. Both goalies sparkled as the Canucks outshot the Oilers 35-32.
“Those guys have some good shooters and some guys that are patient with the puck, so I was able to wait as long as I could and made a couple saves,” said Luongo who experienced leg cramps early in the shootout.
“They came in here and had a gutsy performance, It was a good game, especially in overtime. As usual, in shootouts it could go either way.”
Dubnyk was scrambling to stay in front of pucks in the overtime as the Canucks held an 8-3 edge in shots.
Henrik Sedin tipped a puck on Dubnyk and later had his attempt smothered by the Edmonton goalie who also corralled a last-minute attempt by Kesler.
Edmonton’s best chance in the extra session came when Hall fired into Luongo’s right pad.
“We did a lot of battling, a lot of good things we can take into the all-star break and hopefully continue that and pile some points together after,” Hall said.
“Booth scores that goal and we don’t give up, that’s very encouraging for us. We want to be a team that always competes an works hard.”
Dubnyk got his first career start in back-to-back games after a 44-save effort in Monday’s 2-1 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks.
“It was important,” Renney said. “We thought we’d give him a chance to try and duplicate his effort from last night, which was exceptional, and tonight he was very good … he was big in the net.”
Defenceman Kevin Bieksa said the Canucks refused to get frustrated by the hard-working Oilersand shots that bounced off the iron.
“We still feel like we’re in control and we’re confident, and that’s the sign of a good team, to be able to win those close games in the third and stay even-keeled,” Bieksa said.
Notes: Edmonton went 34-17 in the faceoff circle, with Eric Belanger leading the way at 13-3 … Henrik Sedin was 1-11 for Vancouver … it was the fourth of six meetings between the two clubs with Vancouver winning two of the previous three contests … both clubs have six days between games because of the all-star break … Oilers defenceman Ryan Whitney returned after missing 14 games because of right ankle tendinitis … Sami Salo returned to the Vancouver blue-line after missing six games with concussion symptoms … he suffered the injury Jan. 7 in Boston from a low hit by Brad Marchand who was suspended five games … the Canucks went 3-2-1 in Salo’s absence.