Phillip Di Giuseppe keys Canucks' win days after birth of son

J.T. Miller wins Game 5 for Canucks with go-ahead goal in final minute (0:18)

J.T. Miller scores a short goal to give the Canucks a 3-2 lead with 31 seconds left in the third period vs. the Oilers. (0:18)

After missing the past two games to be with his wife for the birth of their son, Phillip Di Giuseppe scored his first career playoff goal and was instrumental in the Vancouver Canucks' 3-2 win Thursday over the Edmonton Oilers in Game 5 of the Western Conference semifinals.

Di Giuseppe, who had only one playoff point in 11 games before Game 5, tied the score at 2-2 a little more than five minutes into the second period. The Oilers were in their zone when Di Giuseppe was aggressive on the forecheck and delivered a hit on Oilers defenseman Mattias Ekholm.

It led to the puck making its way to Oilers defenseman Evan Bouchard, who was behind the net. As Bouchard attempted to advance the puck up the ice, he lost possession and Di Giuseppe did a spin move at the net front to create separation to score the tying goal.

"I got in on Ekholm and [Nils Aman] came flying in on Bouchard," Di Giuseppe said of his goal. "I don't know if he coughed it up or poked it off him, I got to watch it again. ... So I spun around and scored."

Each of the five games in this series has been decided by a goal. With Game 2 being an overtime win for the Oilers, it appeared Game 5 was also set to reach an extra frame before Canucks alternate captain J.T. Miller scored the winning goal with 33 seconds left in the third.

Miller's game winner came days after Bouchard sealed a 3-2 victory for the Oilers with a winning goal with 39 seconds remaining in the third, which allowed the Oilers to tie the series.

Di Giuseppe's goal helped the Canucks come within a game of reaching their first Western Conference final since the 2011-12 season, and he did it days after his wife, Maggie, delivered the couple's second child, whom they named Sam.

"I just couldn't be happier for him and his wife, Maggie," Miller said. "Unbelievable people. He deserves it. He works his butt off. It's a been a year that Phil's worked really hard here, and their line was unbelievable tonight. For them to get rewarded at a big time of the game was really great."

Di Giuseppe, 30, was with the team before Game 3 in Edmonton but left the Canucks and returned to Vancouver for the birth of his son. Di Giuseppe told reporters Thursday morning that his wife had "a tough pregnancy" and that Maggie and Sam were set to come home.

"I might choke up again. ... It's been a battle of a nine months for her," Di Giuseppe said. "Obviously, with my job, I've been away a lot. She's been in the hospital a lot. We've had a lot of family coming in and out to support us. Like I said before, it takes a village, and it's a blessing we got one."

A fourth-line winger, Di Giuseppe worked alongside Aman and Vasily Podkolzin to power a line that was responsible for more than just the tying goal. Di Giuseppe and Podkolzin were among the forwards who forechecked during the sequence that saw Soucy score the Canucks' first tying goal with 2:33 remaining in the first period.

Di Giuseppe was also among the forwards who helped limit the Oilers' power-play unit to zero goals on five power-play opportunities. Before Game 5, the Oilers had gone four straight games with a power-play goal against the Canucks while operating at a 50% success rate, with five goals in 10 opportunities on the extra-skater advantage.

Soucy said it felt like "a safe bet" that Di Giuseppe was going to score a goal in Game 5.

"Obviously, a little energy and a little extra motivation," Soucy said. "I think everyone is just so happy for him. That's amazing. Obviously, what happens off the ice and then for him to come do that is awesome."