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NHL: Boeser scores 4 as Canucks crush Oilers 8-1 in season opener

Miller, Pettersson also have big nights for Vancouver
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Vancouver Canucks’ Brock Boeser celebrates his third goal against the Edmonton Oilers, during the second period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Wednesday, October 11, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Brock Boeser spent his off-season preparing, mentally and physically, for the start of a new NHL season.

That work was rewarded with his first career four-goal game as the Vancouver Canucks hammered the Edmonton Oilers 8-1 to open their season.

“I kind of got to that mindset in the summer where I’ve got to be a better hockey player and really work hard. I came back and it continues each and every day, I’ve got to have that same mindset,” Boeser said.

“Tomorrow, the next practice, the morning skate, I’ve got to keep it going.”

Conor Garland, Elias Pettersson, J.T. Miller, along with three assists, and Dakota Joshua added the others for Vancouver.

Thatcher Demko stopped 21-of-22 shots he faced, while Casey DeSmith made five saves.

Leon Draisaitl scored the consolation goal for Edmonton, extending his point streak against the Canucks to 19 games.

“We laid an egg tonight. We all own it. We’re all in this one together and the bottom line is we were at a pre-season level of work ethic and a pre-season level of execution, all of us, and we got a lesson in regular season work ethic and regular season battle level,” said Oilers head coach Jay Woodcroft.

“We were not good enough tonight to a man, every single one of us, not good enough.”

Oilers captain Connor McDavid as well as Ryan Nugent-Hopkins were kept off the scoresheet tonight, with McDavid getting an assist on Draisatl’s consolation goal.

“There’s lots of lessons there for us. It sucks that this happens in the first game of the year. These nights happen. It sucks that’s the first one obviously,” said McDavid.

Limiting Edmonton’s top line offensively meant a lot to the team, Miller said after the game.

“It means a lot. I’ve been thinking about this game for a while. We knew this matchup was probably coming and when you go against the best in the world, for me it’s very exciting and challenging. Every single shift I have to be aware and if I take a shift off, he’s going to have a look,” Miller said.

Oilers netminder Jack Campbell was pulled in the second period after the fourth goal, which he gave up on just 16 shots.

However, Stuart Skinner didn’t fare much better in his place, giving up another four goals on 17 shots.

Boeser finished his night with an easy tap-in after Quinn Hughes’s shot hit Miller and fell to the waiting forward 5:43 into the third period.

After racking up three assists, Miller turned goal scorer when he fired in a wrist shot from near the point to make it 7-1 at 6:56 of the third.

The Canucks opened the scoring at 8:06 in the first, with Garland getting on the end of a Peterrsson pass that eluded Edmonton blue liner Brett Kulak.

Vancouver doubled its lead just over three minutes later when Phillip Di Giuseppe pressed hard on the forecheck, with Miller claiming the loose puck and flipping it to Boeser and he buried it past Campbell.

The goals came in quick succession as Boeser completed his hat trick at 7:30 of the second period after a shot hit him in the leg and trickled in.

“I know he did some different training this year, he’s had a good camp, and he knows that he’s got to keep going. He had four goals, a couple screens, he was a big part of the game tonight,” said Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet.

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Joshua put a cap on the scoring barrage when Sam Lafferty broke free down the right wing at 14:48 in the third period and slid it across to Joshua. The centre took two cracks at it, burying it past Skinner.

Demko was pulled during the third period due to dehydration, with the netminder throwing up in his mask.

“He didn’t really want to come out but then when he puked in his mask I said you’ve got to come out,” said Tocchet.

NOTES

The Vancouver Canucks held a pre-game ceremony to mark Hughes being named captain for the 2023-24 NHL season.

Boeser’s hat trick was the first to start the season for the Canucks since Greg Adams in 1987. Vancouver’s eight goals were the most to start the season for them since 1987.

UP NEXT

The Canucks and Oilers face off in Edmonton on Saturday.

Nick Wells, The Canadian Press