Vancouver Canucks Byron Ritchie, right, goes into the boards with Edmonton Oilers Denis Grebeshkov during the first period. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
VANCOUVER - It took 65 minutes and a shootout but the Edmonton Oilers have finally solved the Vancouver Canucks' jinx against them.
Ales Hemsky scored the only goal of the game - and that came in the shootout - as the Oilers defeated the Canucks 1-0 Wednesday night. It was the first Edmonton win over Vancouver in eight NHL games dating back to last season and the first in three games this campaign.
Hemsky, who deked Canuck goalie Roberto Luongo to the ice then tucked a backhand under the crossbar, said he didn't think about his shootout moves on the all-star netminder.
"I was just focused on trying to get my shot up," said Hemsky, who got a puck through Luongo's legs in the first period only to see Vancouver defenceman Willie Mitchell clear it off the goal-line. "If you go up, you have a pretty good chance to score."
Both goalies stood out although the teams had plenty of chances to end the game in regulation time but hit goalposts.
Luongo finished with 20 saves but Mathieu Garon was even sharper, blocking 29 shots while keeping his club in the game when they were outshot 16-5 in the first period.
Oiler Dick Tarnstrom hit the post in the first minute while Brendan Morrison beat Garon at the other end but the puck hit the post and almost bounced in off the goalie.
"One goal was enough tonight and Matty was the reason," Hemsky said.
"He made some really big saves and looked really solid in the shootout. He was challenging shooters and making tough saves look easy."
"He kept his team in it. We dominated them (but) it was one of those games where they're probably thinking they have a chance.
"They were getting outplayed badly but they came out and had a good third and beat us in the shootout."
The Oilers won their second in a row with Garon and fourth in five shootout decisions. They improved to 7-10-1 while the 8-8-1 Canucks saw a modest three-game win streak end.
Garon denied twins Daniel and Henrik Sedin on his doorstep during a second period Vancouver power play. He also stopped Ryan Kesler as he stickhandled through the crease.
The Edmonton goalie was aggressive in the shootout, foiling Byron Ritchie, Morrison and Kesler.
"I felt good in the shootout," Garon said. "I knew it could have went long with Roberto in net."
Instead, Hemsky, the third Oiler shooter, ended the suspense.
Shawn Horcoff, who was robbed by Luongo's glove in the third period, said the Oilers are getting more comfortable in tense situations and shootouts.
"In the past we haven't really been too successful in shootouts but we have some young guys with skill in those situations and even Hemmer, you can see the confidence he has now and it rubs off on the guys," Horcoff said.
The Oilers also throttled the Sedins who had piled up 31 points against them in their last 10 games.
"They seemed to have our number at the beginning of the season and I think tonight we really limited their chances," Garon said.
Kesler said it was just one of those nights for the Canucks when they lose after out-chancing the opposition.
"We played a good game. It was just a matter of making sure we got a bit more traffic at the net and bang in some rebounds." NOTES: The Oilers dominated the face-off circle, winning 30 of 44 draws ... Taylor Pyatt played after missing the last two Canuck practices with flu-like symptoms ... injury-depleted Edmonton has used six rookies in the line-up this season but Raffi Torres played his 203rd consecutive NHL game ... it's the longest active streak on the Oilers ... the game was the first of nine in 16 nights for the Canucks.