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Miller scores late, Canucks edge Oilers to regain series lead

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A late goal by J.T. Miller broke a deadlock that had lasted for almost two periods, grabbing a shot that had deflected off the post and sweeping it past goalie Calvin Pickard with 31.9 seconds left in the third period to lift the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers.

The victory Thursday night at Vancouver's Rogers Arena gives the Canucks a 3-2 series lead in their best-of-seven second-round playoff series, with Game 6 scheduled Saturday night at 6 p.m. in Edmonton.

"They get a bounce. They probably deserved a bounce tonight," Oilers star Connor McDavid told media following the game.

"They were the better team. They get a bounce at the end of the game, and that's the way it goes."

Oilers forward Evander Kane opened the scoring on a pass from behind the net by linemate Leon Draisaitl, snapping it past Canucks Arturs Silovs 4:34 into the first period.

The Canucks got on the board at 17:27 of the opening frame with a goal by defenceman Carson Soucy, who intercepted Oilers forward Corey Perry's backhand clearing attempt and beat Pickard high glove hand.

But the Oilers answered quickly, scoring 23 seconds later after Soucy was stripped of the puck by defenceman Brett Kulak, sending it to Oilers forward Connor Brown, who fed linemate Mattias Janmark on a 2-on-1 break to beat Silovs to go ahead 2-1.

Janmark and Canucks defenceman Tyler Myers took penalties at the end of the first and start the second in the box, their teams playing 4-on-4.

McDavid said he felt the Oilers "got off to a good start" but didn't take advantage of their chances early in the game.

"We were very good in the first period, generating chances, generating power plays (but) we didn't do enough capitalizing early," he said.

The Canucks dominated the middle frame, scoring the lone goal at 5:14 to tie the game 2-2 after Phillip Di Giuseppe tucked a puck fumbled by Oilers defenceman Evan Bouchard in front of his own net between the legs of Pickard, the play coming courtesy a stick sweep by Vancouver's Nils Åman.

The hosts controlled the play most of the period, pressing late, forcing Pickard to make several stops and outshooting the Oilers 17-4 in the frame. The Canucks' aggression was evident throughout it, with players getting sticks in the way and taking away space from Edmonton's attack, particularly the likes of stars Draisaitl and Connor McDavid, who was held without a point.

"I think we just slowed our game too much," Oilers head coach Kris Knoblauch told reporters at his post-game media conference.

"They were pressuring and we weren't executing quickly enough. In the first period, I thought we had excellent opportunities to score, and we just couldn't put the puck in the net. Early on, I thought our power play was really good, but as the game went on, I think we got a little less sharp."

The third period saw the teams trade scoring attempts, the best one until Miller's game winner coming early in the period, when Canucks forward Nils Höglander banked a shot off Pickard's left pad and off the post to a streaking Elias Lindholm, who was taken down by Oilers defenceman Brett Kulak for a penalty.

McDavid came close to scoring with six minutes left in the third, with a clear shot on Silovs that sailed just wide of the net.

"I thought we fought back in the third," Oilers winger Zach Hyman said after the game.

"I thought the second period, they played better. They played faster than we did. I think we play best when we're skating and getting the puck behind them, taking control of the pace, but obviously that wasn't the case in the second. I thought we started to find our game in the third there, but obviously they got the late one."

Vancouver held Edmonton's usually potent power play at bay, shutting them out on five chances. The Canucks went zero-for-four with the man advantage.

Silovs made 21 saves in the win while Pickard stopped 32 Canucks shots.

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