Canucks 2, Oilers 1
EDMONTON, Alberta (AP) _ Jim Sandlak scored the winning goal with 21 seconds remaining and Troy Gamble allowed just one goal for the second straight game as Vancouver edged Edmonton 2-1 Wednesday night.
Gamble, recalled from the International Hockey League two games back, kicked out 27 shots for his second straight win.
He and his teammates appeared headed for overtime until Tony Tanti rode defenseman Craig Muni off the puck behind the Edmonton goal. Barry Pederson picked up the puck and slipped it to Sandlak, unguarded in the slot area. His quick slap shot gave goaltender Grant Fuhr no chance.
Vancouver’s Rich Sutter and Kevin McClelland of Edmonton had the earlier goals, 22 seconds apart in the second period.
There were only a handful of good scoring chances all night. Even on eight power plays, five by Vancouver, there wasn’t a lot of offense. Neither team appeared willing to gamble offensively for fear of giving the other team a break.
Vancouver, winner of two of the previous three games this season between the clubs, struck first on Sutter’s breakaway at 7:17. He was hooked trying to cut in front of the net and had his one-handed backhander got into the top of the net off Fuhr’s stick.
McClelland, who hadn’t scored a goal this season until he got two three games back finished a 2-on-1 break created when Craig MacTavish hauled down a Vancouver defenseman at the blue line.
Jimmy Carson, Edmonton’s hottest goal-scorer, had the Oilers’ best chance to break the tie. He blistered a shot through the legs of Gamble who got just enough of the puck to redirect it off a goalpost.
Sandlak was as surprised as anyone about his game-winner.
″I looked and no one was around, I couldn’t believe it,″ Sandlak said of finding himself uncovered in front of the goal at the most crucial time in the game. ″Kelly Buchberger had me, he was hooking and hooking all the way up the ice, but then he turned to the boards and I turned to the slot.″
″Tanti and Pederson did a heck of a job forechecking,″ Sandlak added with a smile. ″I just one-timed it. But the whole night no one was allowed in front of the net and there I was with 21 seconds left.″
That, agreed a displeased Edmonton coach Glen Sather, was a disasterous mistake.
″Muni had the puck but two of their guys checked him. Two of our guys in front skated out of position. Someone should have stopped in front and picked the guy up.
″We made the big mistake and they capitalized.″
Called up from Milwaukee of the International Hockey League six days ago, Gamble stopped 27 shots.
″I’m tickled to death by the way the team is playing in front of me and how I’m playing,″ Gamble said.