Oilers level series vs. Canucks thanks to last-minute goal

Calvin Pickard recorded the win in his first playoff start and Evan Bouchard scored the tiebreaking goal with 38.1 seconds remaining in regulation as the host Edmonton Oilers registered a 3-2 victory over the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday to even their Western Conference semifinal series at two victories apiece.

Bouchard and Leon Draisaitl each had a goal and an assist for the Oilers, who recovered after their two-goal edge disappeared in the third period. Edmonton’s Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored.

Pickard, whose only previous playoff time was mop-up duty in Game 3 of this series in place of No. 1 netminder Stuart Skinner, made 19 saves in Game 4.

Only 62 seconds after the Canucks pulled even and appeared to set up overtime, Bouchard fired a long point shot that made it through the crush of players and into the net for his fourth goal of the postseason.

Conor Garland and Dakota Joshua scored for the Canucks, who saw their road winning streak snapped at four games. Goalie Arturs Silovs stopped 27 shots.

Game 5 of the best-of-seven series will be Thursday in Vancouver. That contest will follow a game that was an emotional roller coaster.

Draisaitl’s eighth goal of the playoffs, and sixth on the power play, opened the scoring 11:10 into the clash. Draisaitl unloaded a rocket of a one-timer from bottom of right circle that Silovs got a piece of but not enough.

Draisaitl is the first Oilers player to begin a playoffs on a nine-game point streak since Mark Messier in 1988.

The Oilers have scored on the power play in all nine playoff games this spring.

Nugent-Hopkins doubled the lead with 40 seconds remaining in the second period. Sprung on a two-on-one rush by Mattias Ekholm, Nugent-Hopkins elected to shoot and buried his attempt inside the far post for his second goal of the playoffs.

Garland gave the Canucks a much-needed boost at 6:54 of the third period. Nikita Zadorov’s point shot was blocked, but Garland gained the puck and from the slot found the mark thanks to a slick ricochet off the leg of Oilers defenseman Darnell Nurse.

The Canucks have been a successful comeback squad on a few occasions, and they continued that theme when Brock Boeser fired a shot from the left circle that banked into the net off Joshua. The tally was Joshua’s fourth of the playoffs.

Canucks defenseman Carson Soucy served a one-game suspension for cross-checking Edmonton star Connor McDavid at the end of Game 3. Noah Juulson took his place in the lineup.