EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) — The Edmonton Oilers haven’t given up on making the playoffs.
Connor McDavid had two assists, Mikko Koskinen stopped 35 shots and the Oilers kept up their postseason push with a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night.
Alex Chiasson, Zack Kassian and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored for the Oilers (30-30-7), who have won four straight games and are 6-1-2 in their last nine to move within seven points of Minnesota for the second wild card in the Western Conference.
“We just have to keep it going,” defenseman Oscar Klefbom said.
“We cannot be satisfied. We’re still out of the playoffs. Every game is like a playoff game for us. It’s important. There’s a lot of teams in it right now and Minny won tonight in Tampa, and Dallas won and they’re winning some games, too. We cannot be happy. We have to keep winning games because we’ve put ourselves in this situation and now we have to make sure we keep going.”
Jay Beagle and Alexander Edler scored for the Canucks (28-31-9), who have lost four of five.
“We have a lot of resiliency and a lot of heart and have a lot of guys who don’t quit,” Beagle said. “But when you go down by three it is tough, especially on a back-to-back on the road. We showed a lot of heart in never quitting.”
Edmonton opened the scoring just more than five minutes into the first period when former Canuck Sam Gagner stole the puck behind the net and fed it in front to Chiasson, who sent a shot through the legs of goalie Thatcher Demko for his 19th of the season.
The Oilers made it 2-0 with six minutes left in the first when McDavid shrugged off a check at full speed and sent the puck in front for Kassian to deflect it into the net. It was Kassian’s fourth consecutive game with a goal.
Koskinen kept that lead intact late in the first, making a pad save on a point-blank shot by Josh Leivo.
“You continue to build confidence through wins, and it helps you get better at managing that,” Gagner said. “We’re getting better at finding ways to get wins.”
The Oilers added to their lead a minute into the second period when McDavid saw Nugent-Hopkins at the back door and he was able to redirect in his 21st goal of the season.
Vancouver got on the board with 1:30 left in the second when Koskinen mishandled a shot and Beagle poked in a puck that was sitting on the goal line.
The Canucks cut the lead to one seven minutes into the third period on a point shot from Edler. The goal was upheld after a replay challenge for goaltender interference.
NOTES: The teams split four meetings this season. … Oilers forward Jujhar Khaira returned to the lineup after missing 10 games with a lower-body injury. … Edler played his 800th NHL game.
Canucks: Return home to face Vegas on Saturday.
Oilers: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday.
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