Horvat scores twice, Markstrom solid as Canucks open season with win over Oilers

VANCOUVER — Bo Horvat scored twice and Jacob Markstrom settled down to make 33 saves after allowing a goal on the game’s first shot as the Vancouver Canucks defeated the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Saturday night.

The last team in the NHL to start their season, the Canucks also got a goal from Brandon Sutter.

Kris Russell, with a goal and an assist, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins replied for the Oilers, who opened their schedule with a 3-0 home victory Wednesday over the Calgary Flames on the back of a Connor McDavid hat trick.

Cam Talbot allowed three goals on seven shots Saturday before being lifted early in the second period. Laurent Brossoit stopped all 19 shots he faced in relief.

Edmonton has big expectations this season after making the playoffs last year for the first time since 2006, while Vancouver is in full rebuild mode after finishing 29th in 2016-17.

Travis Green made his debut as an NHL head coach behind the Canucks’ bench as Vancouver picked up its first regulation win over Edmonton since Nov. 19, 2014.

With his team up 2-1 after the opening period, Horvat scored his second of the night 32 seconds into the second period when he won a puck battle behind the net before his wraparound shot somehow snuck between Talbot’s pad and the post.

Horvat, who led the Canucks in scoring last season, suffered an upper-body injury during the exhibition schedule, but showed no ill effects against the Oilers.

Brossoit kept Edmonton within two when he shot out a pad to stop a Loui Eriksson one-timer later in the second before Markstrom closed the door on two Leon Draisaitl chances at the other end.

The Oilers netminder then stopped Sven Baertschi on a partial breakaway before also blocking the rebound as the visitors trailed 3-1 after two.

Markstrom denied Zack Kassian with a nice glove save early on a 2-on-1 early in the third period before also stopping Adam Larsson on another odd-man rush.

Edmonton got to within one on the power play at 8:09 when Patrick Maroon fed a no-look pass in front to Nugent-Hopkins, who made no mistake past Markstrom.

The Oilers had a great opportunity to tie it after Sutter took a high-sticking penalty with under six minutes to go in regulation, but the Canucks had the best chance on a Markus Granlund breakaway that Brossoit stopped.

Edmonton kept coming, and with Brossoit on the bench for an extra attacker, Markstrom shot out a pad to preserve the victory.

The Oilers opened the scoring just 1:08 into the game on the first shot of the game when Russell, who scored just once in 68 games all of last season, snapped a puck from the top of the circle off the rush that went between the legs of Vancouver defenceman Erik Gudbranson and past a surprised Markstrom.

The Canucks responded on the power play at 7:35 when Horvat powered past Matt Benning before chipping a shot shortside on Talbot.

Vancouver, which didn’t get its first lead of last season until the fourth game, then went ahead just 1:54 later when Russell coughed the puck behind his own net right in front to Sutter, who beat a surprised Talbot upstairs off the post.

Notes: Edmonton was on a 9-0-2 run against Vancouver before Saturday. … The Oilers open a three-game homestand Monday against the Winnipeg Jets. … The Canucks continue a four-game homestand to open their schedule against Canadian teams on Tuesday against the Ottawa Senators.

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