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Recap: Oilers , Canucks
Date: December 26, 2010 9:00 PM EDT
  

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) - Kevin Bieksa made the most of his limited offense.

Bieksa's goal with 24 seconds left gave the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday night.

Alex Burrows sent a long pass from behind the net to the point where Bieksa fired it past screened goalie Nikolai Khabibulin.

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``I got a shot through and there was a lot of traffic in front and it squeaked in,' said Bieksa, who scored his third goal of the season.

The Canucks earned their 11th win in 14 games. They have not lost in regulation since Dec. 5 against St. Louis. Jeff Tambellini and Mikael Samuelsson also scored for Vancouver, which held a 33-21 edge in shots.

Cory Schneider, who started his second straight game for the Canucks, finished with 19 saves.

Ryan O'Marra netted his first NHL goal, and Ryan Whitney also scored for the Oilers, who are winless in three meetings with Vancouver this season. Edmonton dropped its third straight overall, all on the road.

Vancouver has won seven of eight against the Oilers.

``We had the opportunity to clear it a couple of times, and the glass is a great teammate sometimes,' Edmonton coach Tom Renney said. ``We needed to use that and we weren't able to do that, and good keep by Bieksa up top. It was a good shot and a bit of a seeing-eye shot. That's the luck of the draw and you learn from it.'

Bieksa has been the subject of trade speculation the past two seasons because of inconsistent play. This season, following the departure of free agent Willie Mitchell to Los Angeles, Bieksa and the Vancouver coaches decided that he would play more of a shutdown role.

Once one of the Canucks' most offensive defenseman, Bieksa has focused more on defense.

``He's been one of our most consistent players for quite some time, where at the beginning of the year it was one very good game, one good game,' Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. ``All his games now, he's been very dependable at both ends of the rink.'

Bieksa's goal capped Vancouver's comeback from a 2-0 second-period deficit.

Canucks No. 1 goalie Roberto Luongo arrived in Vancouver early Sunday after spending the Christmas break in Florida with his pregnant wife, Gina, who is due to deliver the couple's second child. It marked the first time Luongo missed two straight games with the Canucks when he wasn't injured.

Helped by two early power plays, the Oilers had several dangerous scoring chances in the first period, but couldn't beat Schneider. He stopped Andrew Cogliano on a breakaway and foiled him again while Edmonton was short-handed in the final five minutes.

In the second period, Khabibulin stopped Manny Malhotra twice in a three-minute span and denied Daniel Sedin on a partial breakaway.

Vancouver outshot Edmonton 8-2 through the first half of the second before Renney used his timeout.

The move worked as the Oilers put on pressure and caught a break to open the scoring. Linus Omark's pass caromed off Vancouver defenseman Alex Edler's skate, giving O'Marra a shot at an open net.

Whitney put the Oilers ahead 2-0 just under five minutes later during a 2-on-1 break.

But Tambellini countered for the Canucks on an almost identical rush with Ryan Kesler.

Samuelsson made it 2-2 at 2:30 of the third period as he put in a cross-ice pass from former Oilers forward Raffi Torres.

The Canucks had a goal disallowed with 3:40 left in the third period. Following a video review, the official ruled that Tambellini deflected in Kesler's shot with a high stick.

``It was nice to come back like that,' Tambellini said. ``We didn't have the start we wanted off the hop. But we're a pretty resilient group in here.'

Tambellini, the son of Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini, extended his point streak to five games.

``There are some pretty talented guys in here, so I'm just trying to fit in as best as I can,' Jeff Tambellini said. ``But I'm more happy with the winning streak than I am with anything else.'

Khabibulin made 30 saves.

``We played really well,' said Oilers defenseman Tom Gilbert, who injured a thigh in the second period and was limited to five shifts in the third before sitting out the rest of the game. ``Obviously, with 24 seconds left, it's a tough loss.'

NOTES: Canucks D Aaron Rome was a healthy scratch and remained two games shy of 100 for his career. ... Edmonton's Ales Hemsky (groin), Shawn Horcoff (knee) and Jim Vandermeer (ankle) remained out. Gilbert Brule was sidelined with the flu. ... Vancouver winger Mason Raymond is close to returning from a broken thumb that has kept him out eight games. ... Vancouver saluted retired winger Darcy Rota during the game as part of the franchise's 40th anniversary celebration. ... Canucks D Sami Salo continues to skate on his own while recovering from offseason surgery to repair a torn Achilles' tendon.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

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The Associated Press
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