VANCOUVER (Reuters) - Kevin Bieksa scored the game-winning goal with 24 seconds left in the third period as the Vancouver Canucks overcame a two-goal deficit to beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 on Sunday.

Edmonton's Ryan O'Marra and Ryan Whitney had given the Oilers (12-16-6) a 2-0 lead toward the end of the second period.

Jeff Tambellini, however, got the Northwest division-leading Vancouver (21-8-5) on the board with 46 seconds left in the second before Mikael Samuelsson tied the game at 2:30 in the third.

"We stayed patient. We didn't have a great (start) but we found a way in the end," Bieksa told reporters.

"We felt like it was just a matter of time before one went in - they kicked it out we got a great screen in front and got one in."

Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin made 30 saves to keep his team close until Bieksa beat him with a slap shot in the closing seconds.

Vancouver has defeated last-place Edmonton three times this season, all in one-goal affairs. The Canucks have won six of their last seven overall to stretch their division lead to five points.

Cory Schneider started his second straight game in net for Vancouver and made 19 stops. Starter Roberto Luongo had been spending time with his wife, who is due to give birth to their child.

"Going down 2-0, my job was just to keep it there and not let the gap get any further," Schneider said. "With this team I know if I keep it at two we'll get our offense and our chances and sure enough we did."

The Oilers have struggled against their Northwest rival and have lost seven of their last eight matchups against them.

Despite their fast start where O'Marra scored his first NHL goal, Edmonton fell to its third straight loss overall.

(Editing by John O'Brien)