VANCOUVER CANUCKS (10-8-1) at
EDMONTON OILERS (7-12-1)
7:08 p.m. MDT
Rogers Sportsnet West
630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Game three of the Oilers’ six-game homestand goes tonight in addition to a crucial stretch that sees the team play 14 games in the next 26 days.
Tonight’s game is the seventh in a series of eight straight where the Oilers meet Northwest Division opponents exclusively. Through the first six, the club has a record of 2-3-1.
One of those two wins came last Wednesday at GM Place in Vancouver against tonight’s opponent, the Vancouver Canucks. The Oilers won that game by a 1-0 score in a shootout. Mathieu Garon made 29 saves and turned away all three Canucks in the shootout to earn a win for his club. Ales Hemsky
scored Edmonton’s lone shootout goal.
Vancouver is also in the middle of playing eight straight games versus teams in their own division and tonight is game seven as well for the West Coast team. The Canucks have done exceptionally well against their division this year, boasting an 8-0-1 record. In this current stretch, they are 5-0-1. Last week’s shootout defeat versus the Oilers was their only non win of the season so far against teams in their own division.
Edmonton's last game was a 3-1 loss versus the Calgary Flames. Andrew Cogliano
scored the lone Edmonton goal in the third period.
Just The Facts...
LINEUP UPDATE (11:58 AM):
Joni Pitkanen will not play tonight. He skated this morning but is still experiencing soreness in his knee. Head Coach Craig MacTavish mentioned that he underwent an MRI on Monday and is listed as day-to-day... Mathieu Garon gets his second straight start for the Oilers... Kyle Brodziak will play again tonight, showing much improvement in his knee.
SINGLES & STANDING ROOM STILL AVAILABLE FOR TONIGHT:
There are still great single seats and standing room tickets available for tonight's game against the Canucks. For Molson Half-Price Singles, call 414-GOAL or go online to buy standing room seats together before they're scooped up!
OILERS TO WATCH:
With an assortment of new line combinations, keep an eye on a bunch of Oilers tonight. One in particular, Robert Nilsson returns to his natural position of left wing for the first time this season and will be playing with Ales Hemsky
for the first time as well. Nilsson could see his power play time increased as well as a result of being paired with Hemsky. His lone goal this season came on the power play Nov. 10 in Calgary… Zack Stortini
is expected to see some more icetime tonight. He will be playing with Jarret Stoll and Raffi Torres to start the game... Last time the Canucks and Oilers met, Garon put in a great performance, making 29 saves for the 1-0 shutout win. He could get the start again tonight for Edmonton… Stoll showed some signs of breaking out on Saturday with a two-goal performance against the Flames.
CANUCKS TO WATCH:
Vancouver has continued to play well despite a decimated blueline. Currently the club has Sami Salo and Kevin Bieksa out due to injury and Mattias Ohlund out with a suspension. As a result, the Canucks are without each of its top three blueliners. Keep an eye on the remaining healthy starting six on D: Aaron Miller, Lukas Krajicek, Willie Mitchell, Mike Weaver, Alex Edler and Luc Bourdon. All six are carrying the load evenly, averaging 17 to 23 minutes between them… Roberto Luongo remains key to any defensive scheme the Canucks may have. On Sunday against Calgary, Luongo helped the Canucks weather a storm in which they were outshot 17-3, enabling the team to hold on before finding their game and defeating Calgary 4-1.
Edmonton – Joni Pitkanen (knee) is out. Sheldon Souray
(shoulder) is out. Ethan Moreau (foot) is out. Matt Greene (ankle) is out. Mathieu Roy (shoulder) is out. Fernando Pisani (colitis) is out; Vancouver – Sami Salo (nose) is out. Kevin Bieksa (leg) is out. Rick Rypien (finger) is out. Mattias Ohlund (suspension) is out.
Since last Christmas, Vancouver is an impressive 19-4-3 against teams within their own division. The Canucks were 7-0-0 against the Oilers until Edmonton’s big shootout win against the Canucks last week… Vancouver’s schedule is also getting busy. They’re in the middle of a stretch that will see them play 17 games in 32 days through to December 15… Vancouver is tied with the second best road record in the league at 6-2-0.
MacTavish shakes things up at practice -
In an effort to shake things up, Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish came up with a number of different line combinations in practice on Monday as the team prepares for the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night. ...more
Joni Pitkanen Injury Update -
Oilers defenceman Joni Pitkanen skated on Tuesday morning but won't play tonight. He underwent an MRI on Monday and is listed as day-to-day. ...more
Sheldon Souray Interview Monday with Dan Tencer -
Injured Oilers defenceman Sheldon Souray
spoke with Dan Tencer of 630 CHED on Monday night. Follow the link to listen to the interview. ...more
Archive of Kevin Lowe on Monday's Oilers Live -
Edmonton Oilers GM Kevin Lowe took the time to answer fans' questions on Monday afternoon. Follow the link and listen to what he had to say in this 35-minute edition of Oilers Live with host Morley Scott. ...more
Interviews from Monday...
- Staios, Garon, Stortini, Nilsson, Torres & MacTavish talk about tonight's game vs the Canucks. 700K
The Other Side
- Canucks.com Game Notes - All you need from the Canucks website to get ready for the Canucks vs. Oilers tonight. More
- King of the Rink - Alex Edler After so many games, practices, plane rides, and dinners the players have had enough time to get to know each other right? Let's see just how much they've learned about Alex Edler. ...more
- What do these top players have in common? What do Jarome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, Marian Gaborik, Brian Rolston, Shawn Horcoff, Joe Sakic, Ryan Smyth and Milan Hejduk have in common? All left General Motors Place in the past 10 days without a goal. ...more
- Canucks Report All the recent Canucks news from the past seven days. ...more
Item of the Game
Each game, a different item is featured at The Oilers Store at Rexall Place.
Tonight's item is Oilers 2 Stripe Cap (Reg: $19.99, Now $9.99).
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Christmas Packs Back for the Holidays - Edmonton Oilers Christmas Packs are back in time for the holiday season, with your chance to give the gift of hockey to the Oilers fan in your life. Follow the link to find out more information and to register. ...more
From the Wire
A string of injuries to their defense, as well as the suspension of their top blueliner, hasn't kept the Vancouver Canucks from climbing in the Northwest Division standings.
The Canucks look to continue their surge when they take on the lowly Edmonton Oilers at Rexall Place on Tuesday.
Vancouver (10-8-1) has won five of six games since losing defensemen Kevin Bieksa (lacerated calf) and Sami Salo (broken nose) during a Nov. 1 loss to Nashville. Bieksa could miss up to two months and Salo is out indefinitely.
The latest hit to the Canucks' defense came Sunday in the form of a four-game suspension of Mattias Ohlund.
Ohlund, who leads Vancouver defensemen with three goals and three assists as well as a 23-minute, 33-second ice-time average, isn't eligible to return until Nov. 25 after his stick-swinging hit on Minnesota's Mikko Koivu on Friday. Koivu was whistled for an elbowing penalty, apparently hitting Ohlund in the face. Ohlund responded by swinging his stick and slashing Koivu, cracking a bone in the forward's left leg.
"The elbow to the face, I don't think it was a very good play from his part, but looking back I wish I would have done something different than I did," said Ohlund, who has the second-most penalty minutes in the league among defensemen with 46, trailing Boston's Zdeno Chara (52).
Despite the depleted defense corps, the Canucks won for the third time in four home games and improved to 8-0-1 against the Northwest with Sunday's 4-1 victory over Calgary. Vancouver is two points behind Colorado and three behind division leader Minnesota.
"The boys beared down," said goaltender Roberto Luongo, 5-0-1 with a 1.47 goals-against average in his last six starts. "We lost another D-man, so guys just picked up the pace again and it was a really good effort from our group, especially in our own zone."
Vancouver received a boost from defenseman Lukas Krajicek, who took Ohlund's place in the lineup Sunday. Krajicek, who returned earlier than expected after missing 3 1-2 weeks with a broken ankle bone, received 18:13 of ice time and was plus-1 for the game.
Vancouver looks to maintain its momentum in the matchup with last-place Edmonton (7-12-1), which had lost seven straight to the Canucks before winning 1-0 in a shootout at GM Place on Wednesday - Vancouver's only defeat to a Northwest team.
Mathieu Garon helped deal Vancouver its only loss in the last six games, making 29 saves through overtime and three stops in the shootout. He bested Luongo, who made 19 saves but was beaten by Ales Hemsky.
Luongo is 9-4-1 with a tie and a 2.33 GAA in 15 starts versus the Oilers. The Canucks have won four straight in Edmonton behind Luongo, their longest run at Rexall Place since winning five in a row there from Jan. 5, 2002-Dec. 20, 2003.
While Edmonton finally ended its slide against Vancouver, the Oilers have lost six of their last eight overall, and four straight and six of seven at home, including a 3-1 defeat to the Flames on Saturday. It's Edmonton's longest home skid since it went 0-7-1 from Feb. 27-March 21.
A lack of offense has been a major factor in the Oilers having the fewest points in the Western Conference. Their total of 44 goals is among the worst in the NHL, and they've been held to two goals or fewer six times in the last eight contests.
The Oilers are 0-for-12 on the power-play in the last three games, with their last man-advantage goals coming Nov. 10.
"It's just another one of those games where we couldn't find a way to score," center Jarrett Stoll said after Saturday's loss. "It's the same old story. I hate talking about it."
Edmonton's power play is last in the league at 8.5 percent (7-for-82).