It’s official: Oilers off to worst start in franchise history


Five games into this new season, and the Edmonton Oilers have yet to win.

The losses continue to pile up. On Friday, while the Oilers may have played a better overall defensive game minus one costly lapse, they still came away defeated, dropping a 2-0 decision to the Vancouver Canucks.

The last time the Oilers got off to such a horrid start was in 1992-93, when they had an 0-4-1 record, according to Jim Matheson of the Edmonton Journal. That’s back when games finished in a tie if overtime didn’t settle the score; there was no shootout.

Five straight defeats for the 2014-15 group. One of those did come in a shootout to the Canucks last weekend.

And the pressure continues to mount on Dallas Eakins, who is in just his second year as Edmonton’s head coach. He did get a vote of confidence from management this spring, but this start has only increased frustrations with the fan base.

The Oilers recently returned from a three-game road trip. They allowed a combined 13 goals in two games against L.A. and Arizona.

Ben Scrivens, who had endured his share of criticism of late, got the start in goal for Edmonton. Earlier in the day, Eakins shared a story that Scrivens, in a determined state of mind, told the coach he was “going to win that game.”

It didn’t work out that way, although Scrivens was hardly to blame. He made 28 saves on 29 shots faced.

Meanwhile, the Canucks, after their massive overhaul in the summer and with their franchise sellout streak about to end Saturday against the Tampa Bay Lightning, are off to their best start since the 1999-2000 season.

Three straight wins for Vancouver. All of those have come against teams from Alberta, and neither the Oilers or the Calgary Flames are thought to be in contention in the Western Conference this season.

The Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, did their thing. That top line of the Sedin twins and Radim Vrbata combined for six points on the night. Vrbata got the winner, finishing off a sweet passing play from the twins, and Daniel Sedin secured the win with an empty-net goal.

Ryan Miller recorded his first shutout as a member of the Canucks, and is now 9-0-0 against the Oilers for his career.

Vancouver’s defenseman Dan Hamhuis, who took a high stick to the face in the second period and needed several stitches, left the game briefly but did return, sporting a full face shield.

Senators goaltender Cam Talbot out 5-7 weeks with injury

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OTTAWA, Ontario — Ottawa Senators goaltender Cam Talbot is expected to be out five to seven weeks with what the team called an upper-body injury.

The Senators initially called Talbot day to day with what they hoped was a minor injury. Instead he’s now expected to miss at least the first month of the NHL season.

Ottawa claimed goalie Magnus Hellberg off waivers from the Seattle Kraken upon announcing Talbot’s expected absence. Hellberg, who played for Sweden at the Beijing Olympics could split time with countryman Anton Forsberg while Talbot is out.

The Senators acquired Talbot from Minnesota during the offseason to make him their starter after the Wild opted against bringing him back along with Marc-Andre Fleury. Talbot, 35, had a 2.76 goals-against average and .911 save percentage this season.

Losing Talbot is a blow to the Senators, who also acquired winger Alex DeBrincat from Chicago and signed longtime Philadelphia Flyers captain Claude Giroux as part of a move toward contending and ending their playoff drought.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

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CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

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TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.