Two out of three is bad

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:34 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Two years ago, the Edmonton Oilers roared down the stretch like a house on fire until the Vancouver Canucks doused their playoff hopes at General Motors Place in the final game of the season.

After beating the Oilers for a second time in a span of 48 hours last night, this time via a 4-3 shootout win, the Canucks might accomplish the same thing - without the final-game dramatics this time.

Beaten 4-1 in Edmonton Tuesday, the Oilers got a point this time around, but they're two in arrears of the Canucks with 11 games left with the third game of this make-or-break trifecta set for the Garage tomorrow.

"These shootouts are just devastating right now," said a frustrated Craig MacTavish after watching the Oilers lose for the eighth time in an NHL-high 14 shootouts.

"It's killing us.

"We came back. We had a couple of really good opportunities to make it 4-2 ... we couldn't pull the trigger and capitalize on those opportunities and the next thing you know, it's the same old, same old."

BERTUZZI SNAPS

Todd Bertuzzi snapped a drought of 20 games without a goal at even-strength to make it 1-0, then added the winner in the shootout to decide it as the Canucks beat the Oilers for the second straight time after losing the first five meetings of the season.

"To win at this time of year, you have to have an effort from everybody," said Vancouver coach Marc Crawford.

"You've got to compete at a very high level and you've got to be composed ... it's necessary right now that teams get on a roll and, hopefully, we're in the midst of that."

Bertuzzi put Vancouver on the board when he ended his slump on a shot Dwayne Roloson should've had. He took a pass off the end boards from Ryan Kesler and snapped a sharp-angle shot past Roloson, who wasn't square to the puck.

The 2-0 goal by Henrik Sedin was no thing of beauty, either - Sedin was allowed to stand around and bang Anson Carter's rebound past Roloson five minutes into the second period.

That's when Raffi Torres and Sergei Samsonov went to work. Torres took a feed from Sergei Samsonov and fanned on his shot, but got enough of it to fool Alex Auld and find twine to cut it to 2-1 at 8:33.

Less than 10 minutes later, Torres then made it seven goals in seven games against the Canucks, banging a Samsonov rebound past Auld to tie it at 18:08.

"It sucks," said Torres, not satisfied with the single point or his own prowess against the Canucks. "I thought we played pretty good there, battled back and gave ourselves a chance to win."

TWO IN 48 SECONDS

When Carter coughed up the rubber on Auld's doorstep and Fernando Pisani buried it, the Oilers had two goals in a span of 48 seconds and a 3-2 lead.

Markus Naslund got that one back 11:36 into the third, chipping a puck over Roloson after a Steve Staios giveaway, setting the stage for Bertuzzi.

"These are critical points," MacTavish said. "We're going to need a couple of wins in the shootout. I don't know that we can be any more aggressive four-on-four (in overtime) than what we were tonight trying to win before we got to the shootout."

AROUND THE RINK: Dick Tarnstrom, who missed five games with a groin strain, drew in on defence in place of rookie Matt Greene alongside captain Jason Smith ... with Radek Dvorak left back in Edmonton to rest a strained hip-flexor, Rem Murray got back into the line-up, playing at pivot between Ethan Moreau and Pisani.


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