Travis Hamonic had a goal and an assist Thursday, helping the visiting Vancouver Canucks snap a six-game losing skid with a decisive 6-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Hamonic also dropped the gloves with Alex Chiasson in the second period to register a Gordie Howe hat trick. Nils Hoglander and Jayce Hawryluk each scored and notched a helper for Vancouver (20-25-3), while Jack Rathbone, Tyler Graovac and Brock Boeser all added goals.
Leon Draisaitl found the back of the net twice for Edmonton (32-17-2), Jesse Puljujarvi scored and Connor McDavid added three assists.
The Oilers outshot the Canucks 42-27 but Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko kept his side in the game, making 39 saves, including a stop on a McDavid penalty shot.
Mikko Koskinen was pulled from Edmonton’s crease midway through the first period after allowing four goals on four shots. Mike Smith stopped 21-of-23 in relief and registered an assist on Draisaitl’s first goal.
Boeser’s sealed the score at 6-3 with less than five minutes left on the game clock. Vancouver’s leading scorer unleashed a rocket that sailed between Smith and the post. It was his 20th goal of the year.
The Oilers were down 5-2 heading into the final frame Thursday but refused to relent. Draisaitl finally beat Demko 12:55 into third with a shot from the bottom of the left face-off circle, his second of the night and 28th goal of the season.
McDavid tallied his third assist on the play. He continues to lead the NHL in scoring with 96 points (31 goals, 65 assists) in the pandemic-condensed campaign.
Moments before Draisaitl scored, McDavid was awarded a penalty shot after Vancouver defenceman Tylre Myers slashed him from behind on a breakaway.
The Oilers captain wove his way in and flipped a shot on net from in tight, but Demko stretched out to make the pad stop.
The Canucks held a 4-2 lead heading into the second and Graovac widened the cushion 9:42 into the period. His sharp-angle shot from the goal line ticked off the back of Smith’s helmet and in over the netminder’s shoulder.
It was Graovac’s first goal since Nov. 30, 2019 when the Canucks downed the Oilers 5-2.
Moments before, Hamonic hit Chiasson near centre ice and the Edmonton forward took issue with the play, prompting the pair to drop the gloves. After a quick skirmish, both headed to the box to serve out five-minute majors for fighting.
Much of the action came in the first period of Thursday’s game with six goals across the frame.
Hoglander opened the scoring just 31 seconds in.
The Swedish rookie got around Puljujarvi and blasted a shot past Koskinen from the left face-off circle for his 10th goal of the year.
Rathbone added to the tally 4:43 into the first. A shot from Hawryluk was blocked in front of the net and Rathbone picked up the puck in the slot, sending a wrist shot over Koskinen’s glove for his first NHL goal in his second game.
Now that's how you start a game. 👀#Canucks lead 3-0 just over halfway through the 1st thanks to goals from Höglander, Hamonic, and of course... Jack Rathbone's 1st career goal. ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/zxJy1ql5m9— Vancouver #Canucks (@Canucks) May 7, 2021
Vancouver went up 3-0 just 50 seconds later when Hamonic bounced a puck in off Koskinen’s shoulder.
It was the veteran defenceman’s first goal of the year and his first in a Canucks jersey.
Koskinen was chased 12:22 into the opening frame after Hawryluk sent a shot through his legs, building Vancouver’s lead to 4-0.
The Canucks netminder responded by smashing his stick on the goal post until it snapped.
Edmonton got on the board with a power-play strike 16:41 into the first after Graovac was called for high sticking.
Smith sent the puck up the ice to McDavid on a Canucks change. The Oilers captain left a drop pass for Draisaitl and he blasted a shot under Demko’s stick to make it 4-1.
Edmonton has the top power play in the NHL, capitalizing on 27.2 per cent of its chances this season.
The Oilers were 2 for 5 with the man advantage on Thursday. The Canucks went 0 for 4 on the power play.
Puljujarvi cut Vancouver’s lead to 4-2 before the end of the first, sending a shot in off the far post for his 14th goal of the year.
The Oilers still hold a 5-3 edge over the Canucks in the 10-game series. The next round will go Saturday in Edmonton.
NOTES: The result snapped a three-game win streak for Edmonton. The Oilers beat the Canucks 4-1 on Tuesday. … Edmonton forward Patrick Russell played his first game since March 13.
THE CANADIAN PRESS
The Canadian Press