Mike Smith makes 32 saves, Oilers beat Canucks 3-0

NHL Hockey

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP)Mike Smith made 32 saves for his second shutout of the season and 41st overall as the Edmonton Oilers beat the Vancouver Canucks 3-0 on Thursday night.

”Shutouts are hard to get, especially now with how many power plays there are,” Smith said. ”But it’s not just a credit to the goalie, it’s a credit to the team in front of him and what they do.”

Alex Chiasson and Jesse Puljujarvi had power-play goals to help the Oilers win their fifth straight and improve to 14-8-0. Connor McDavid padded his lead atop the NHL’s scoring race with an empty-netter.

”I’m real proud of the group, how we’re finding ways to win games, different ways. And those are all experiences that are going to be valuable down the stretch,” Smith said. ”Another big two points.”

Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko also stopped 32 shots. The Canucks have dropped four in a row to fall to 8-14-2.

”It’s obviously hard. It’s kind of the same thing that we’ve been talking about, playing a pretty good game and not being able to find the back of the net,” Demko said.

”I thought we created really good chances and it’s just kind of the way the game went.”

Edmonton’s penalty kill stopped Vancouver from capitalizing on four power plays. At the other end of the ice, the Oilers scored twice with the man advantage.

”Special teams were the difference in the game. Our PK did an excellent job,” Oilers coach Dave Tippett said. ”(Smith) made some excellent saves for us, but our PK was doing whatever it took to keep it out of our net. Our PP got a couple of big goals, a couple of hard-scoring goals in front of the net, which was good to see.”

Edmonton won 4-3 on Tuesday night in the series opener.

AROUND THE RINK

Ethan Bear returned to the Edmonton lineup after missing nearly a month with a head injury. … Travis Hamonic was back in Vancouver’s lineup after missing 18 games with a head injury. . The Oilers placed William Lagesson on injured reserve. The defenseman sustained an upper-body injury in a 6-5 loss to Winnipeg on Feb. 15. . Jayce Hawryluk played his first game for the Canucks. The 25-year-old forward signed with Vancouver as a free agent in October.

UP NEXT

Oilers: Host the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, Monday and Wednesday nights.

Canucks: At the Winnipeg Jets on Monday and Tuesday nights.

More AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

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