EDMONTON – Jason Krog’s shootout goal proved to be the winner as the Vancouver Canucks knocked off the Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in the opening pre-season game for both teams on Monday.
Edmonton got a chance to display its potentially lethal-looking new first unit power play combination in the opening minute and it lived up to the billing early as Sheldon Souray unleashed a bullet past rookie netminder Cory Schneider.
But just over a minute later the Canucks had tied it up as Pierre-Cedric Labrie chipped a puck over a sprawling Mathieu Garon in the Edmonton net to the stick of Jeff Cowan for an easy tap-in and a 1-1 tie.
The Oilers regained the league just before the five-minute mark as Eric Cole, acquired in an off-season trade with Carolina, swatted in a rebound following a Shawn Horcoff tip of another Souray blast from the point.
The Canucks pulled even six minutes later as Daniel Sedin dished a pass in front of the net to a pinching Mattias Ohlund to tie the game 2-2 after the first.
Edmonton scored the lone goal in the second and it was a beauty as Steve Staios sent sophomore centre Sam Gagner in on a shorthanded breakaway and he undressed Schneider with a backhand goal to give the Oilers the 3-2 edge after two.
Vancouver had a brilliant opportunity to get back into the game when they were awarded a five minute major following a dustup between Oiler Hans Benson and Canucks defenceman Rob Davison five minutes into the third, but Edmonton came up with a huge penalty kill to stay in front.
However, they would manage to draw even with five minutes to go in the final frame as Dan Gendur was able to find a loose puck off the face-off and bounce it past Garon to send the game to overtime and the eventual shootout.
The two teams have a rematch in Vancouver on Tuesday night.
Notes: In a bit of a scheduling quirk, Edmonton has more home games in September than in October. The Oilers play four pre-season tilts at Rexall Place in Edmonton this month but only have three next month. Edmonton has 18 of its first 25 regular season games on the road this season. … Edmonton went into the game with an all-time record of 18-10-3 in the pre-season against Vancouver, outscoring the Canucks 130-102. … Vancouver dressed the more experienced of their two teams from training camp, with just one player on this roster without any pro hockey experience in RW Dan Gendur, who was a standout at rookie camp.