VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) — Bruce Boudreau stood on the bench Saturday night, clapping for the crowd and trying to soak in a bittersweet moment.
Vancouver had just dropped a 4-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers — the Canucks’ third loss in four nights — but chants of “Bruce, there it is!” to the tune of Tag Team’s “Whoomp! (There it is)” still echoed around Rogers Arena.
Expectations are that Boudreau will be fired in the coming days and the veteran NHL coach treated the game Saturday night as his last.
“You never know if it’s the end,” the 68-year-old Bourdreau told reporters after the game, tears welling in his eyes. “So when you’ve been in it for almost 50 years — you know, the majority of your life — and now if it’s the end, I had to stay out there and look at the crowd and just try to say, ‘OK, try remember this moment type of thing.’”
Players weren’t sure whether to stay on the ice and tap their sticks for their coach or to head down the tunnel, veteran defenseman Luke Schenn said of the “wild” scene.
“In the dressing room, guys were sitting around here and kind of almost speechless,” Schenn said. “A lot of times after a loss, guys are mad or ticked off or whatever about the way they played. But this wasn’t about the game. It was more the feeling for Bruce.”
After falling behind 3-0 midway through the second period Saturday, the Canucks (18-25-3) clawed back two goals and looked to even the score late in the third. Instead, the surging Oilers (27-18-3) took a sixth straight victory.
“We wanted to play right to the very end for (Boudreau),” Canucks captain Bo Horvat saud. “He coached every game like it was his last and, for us, we would have loved to pull one out there for him. But obviously it wasn’t good enough there.”
Zach Hyman had a goal and three assists for Edmonton to set a career high in points. Hyman has 56 points — on 24 goals and 32 assists — after finishing with 54 points last season.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored and had two assists for Edmonton, Connor McDavid had his 40th goal and an assist and Leon Draisaitl scored his 28th goal. Stuart Skinner made 27 saves to help the Oilers improve to 27-18-3.
“We’re getting contributions from everybody,” McDavid said. “Whether it’s on the score sheet or playing physical or blocking a shot or being solid defensively, I think we’re getting contributions up and down the lineup,” he said.
“And then a little maturity. We’ve found ourselves in some tight games and finding a way to close them out and that’s a big part of winning.”
Andrei Kuzmenko and J.T. Miller scored for Vancouver. Quinn Hughes had two assists and Spencer Martin made 25 saves.
The Canucks are 1-9-0 in their last 10.
Oilers: Host Columbus on Wednesday night.
Canucks: Host Chicago on Tuesday night.
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