Oilers take on Canucks at Rexall Place at 8:00 p.m.
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (21-15-5) at
EDMONTON OILERS (19-16-3)
Start Time: 8:08 p.m. MST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet West & Pacific (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.
Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Canucks Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison
LINEUP UPDATE (11:36 AM): Gilbert Brule will draw in on the top line tonight while Liam Reddox will be a healthy scratch... Dwayne Roloson starts in goal.
|VANCOUVER, CANADA - DECEMBER 26: Ales Hemsky #83 of the Edmonton Oilers rushes the net as Curtis Sanford #41 of the Vancouver Canucks sprawls to make a save with teammates Alex Edler #23 and Willie Mitchell #8 clearing his crease during their game at General Motors Place on December 26, 2008 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)
by Nick Conrad | edmontonoilers.com
|THE ESSENTIALS FOR TONIGHT
The Sundin Story; The Sundin Show; The Sundin Saga—The Sundin Soap Opera?
The titillating tale of Mats Sundin has slowly been unfolding for about nine months and is about to turn a new chapter: Sundin’s 18th NHL season and his first not as a Maple Leaf since joining the Buds for the 1994-95 season...at least, it’s a pretty good possibility.
Sundin skated with Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood on Tuesday and said he felt he had a good chance to play against Edmonton tonight.
Though all eyes and ears will eagerly await the Sundin scoop, a hockey game will take place regardless of the status of Sundin and it’s one the Edmonton Oilers (19-16-3) need to keep their 2009 momentum moving forward.
Standing in the way of Edmonton’s fourth three-game win streak of the season are the Vancouver Canucks (21-15-5) who’ve lost two straight but have four points in three games in 2009.
After troubles at home this season, the Oilers have put together a 4-1 stretch at Rexall Place in the last five home games. They’ve twice won two straight at home but have yet to stretch that to three games.
Edmonton and Vancouver are tied for the season with two wins apiece and will play one more game at Rexall Place on April 4.
The Oilers last played the Canucks on Boxing Day when the Oil scored two 5-on-3 powerplay goals for the 3-2 win.
Edmonton will next take on the San Jose Sharks on Friday night before finishing their five-game homestand against St. Louis on Sunday.
Just The Facts...
OILERS TO WATCH:
Lubomir Visnovsky leads the Oilers with nine multi-point games. He’s got four points in his last five games and three assists in four games vs. the Canucks...Andrew Cogliano
has scored goals in two straight games and will look for number three...Zack Stortini
was key in the Oilers win over the Islanders and should be notable in what will most likely be a physical affair tonight. He’s got three fights in four games vs. Vancouver this season.
CANUCKS TO WATCH:
Mats Sundin is probable to make his Canuck debut tonight. The nine-time all-star had 32 goals last season with the Leafs but hasn’t played a game since March 29, 2008...Kyle Wellwood played with Sundin in Toronto and may be reacquainted with him on a line tonight. Wellwood’s got two goals in five career games vs. Edmonton and 14 goals this season...Daniel Sedin is lighting it up this season scoring 19-22-41 in 41 games. He’s scored 22-18-40 in 48 games vs. the Oilers.
(mild concussion) is out; Steve MacIntyre
(orbital bone) is out; Fernando Pisani (ankle) is out. Vancouver—Roberto Luongo (groin) is out; Curtis Sanford (groin) is out; Ryan Johnson (foot, hand) is out; Taylor Pyatt (broken foot) is out; Rick Rypien (hernia) is out; Sami Salo (broken rib) is out.
Steve Staios will tie Georges Laraque tonight with 490 games played as an Oiler (20th on the all-time list)...Jason Strudwick
scored his first goal as an Oiler and Dwayne Roloson earned his 150th career win on Monday vs. the Islanders...Sheldon Souray
has scored the game-winning goal in three of the last five wins...The Oilers will play nine of 12 games at Rexall Place in January before beginning their February schedule with two home games...Edmonton’s all-time record on Jan. 7 is 11-5-1-0...The Oilers lead the all-time series with a 101-64-19-7 record in 191 games and have outscored Vancouver 751-637...The Oilers skated to their 100th regular season victory over the Canucks with a 3-0 win at Rexall Place on Dec. 13.
Interview with Oilers prospect Jordan Eberle
- With 13 points, Oilers prospect Jordan Eberle
was named one of the top three players at the recently-completed World Junior tournament. 630 CHED's Dan Tencer recently caught up with the Gold Medal winner. Follow the link for the interview. ...more
The Other Side - news from canucks.com
- So far, so good - Shane O’Brien is only three games into 2009, but it’s so far, so good in regards to his New Year’s resolution. As the NHL’s leader in penalty minutes, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he pledged to stay out of the sin bin a little more this year. ...more
- Hodgson flying high - Air Canada flight No. 445 was scheduled to be Cody Hodgson’s method of travel back to Toronto from Ottawa Tuesday morning. But given the last 24 hours, he could have probably made it back to the Big Smoke on adrenalin alone. ...more
- Nothing else matters - If there’s such a thing as hockey fate, Jason LaBarbera is currently entangled in it. Last week the 28-year-old became a member of the Canucks, helping him fulfill a lifelong dream. This isn’t the first time he’s been karmically blessed through hockey. ...more
- One-on-one with Mats Sundin - Kristin Reid talks to Mats Sundin after his first practice with the whole team at GM Place, coming to Vancouver, and the transition of joining a new team. Plus, thoughts on the lucky fan that received Sundin's very first Canucks jersey. ...more
From the Fans
Odds and Ends
- Today on The Link: Skills & Resolutions - The Link is back for the New Year, and Crystal Leriger introduces the first three features of 2009: Oilers New Year's resolutions, Skills Competition highlights, and After Hours with Andrew Cogliano. ...more
- Team White wins Skills Competition - Although Team Orange's Sheldon Souray registered the hardest shot in Oilers Skills Competition history with a 106.7mph slapper, White goalie Dwayne Roloson dominated the shootout and 3-on-3 to help his team win 18-16. ...more
- Register for the Mini-Pack Priority Draw - The Celebrate Hockey Pack is the last Mini-Pack of the 2008-09 season and features three big Oilers games. Follow the link for more information and to register for the Mini-Pack Priority Draw. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
Center Mats Sundin is expected to make his Vancouver debut soon. It can't come soon enough for the slumping Canucks.
Sundin believes there's a "good chance" he'll make his highly-anticipated season debut Wednesday night, when the Canucks will be aiming to avoid a third consecutive defeat as they visit the Northwest Division rival Edmonton Oilers.
After considering retirement at the end of last season, Sundin decided Dec. 18 to sign a one-year contract with Vancouver (21-15-5). The former Toronto captain participated in two morning skates with the Canucks prior to joining them for full practice on Monday and Tuesday.
Despite not appearing in a game since March 9, the 37-year-old Sundin is optimistic he's ready. The nine-time All-Star is Toronto's all-time leading scorer with 987 points, and has a total of 555 goals and 766 assists in 17 NHL seasons - the first four spent with Quebec.
He has 20 goals and 44 assists in 41 career games versus Edmonton (19-16-3).
"If nothing changes until tomorrow morning I think it should be a good chance I'll play tomorrow," Sundin said Tuesday. "If not, then obviously Friday" at home against St. Louis.
Whenever Sundin does play, he'll try to re-energize a Vancouver squad that has dropped five of its last seven games and is 7-9-3 following a season-high four-game winning streak from Nov. 19-24.
The Canucks' last two losses have come in shootouts, 4-3 at Atlanta on Friday and 3-2 at home to Dallas on Sunday. Vancouver has lost five of its six shootouts this season. The Canucks have also dropped seven of their last 10 road games, and three of their last four visits to Rexall Place.
These division rivals have split the first four games of their season series. Edmonton took the most recent matchup, 3-2 in Vancouver on Dec. 26. The Oilers also won their only previous home game in the season series, 3-0 on Dec. 13 behind Dwayne Roloson's only shutout of 2008-09. He made 23 saves in that contest, and 25 on Monday night in a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders.
Andrew Cogliano scored the decisive goal midway through the third period as the Oilers improved to 2-0 on their five-game homestand and won for the fifth time in seven games overall.
"It was a big win for us and a confidence boost going into our next game against the Canucks, which I feel is one of our biggest games of the season," said Cogliano, has four goals in his last seven games to move into a tie with defenseman Sheldon Souray for the team lead with 12.
Edmonton's top scorer Ales Hemsky (35 points) has missed the last four games and remains day-to-day with a concussion.
Vancouver continues to play without injured goaltender and captain Roberto Luongo (strained groin), but Jason LaBarbera - acquired from Los Angeles in a Dec. 30 trade - has been a bright spot, compiling a 1.90 goals-against average and a .943 save percentage in three starts for his new team.
LaBarbera has won four of five career games against Edmonton with a 1.05 GAA and .966 save percentage in those outings.