Preview: Canucks vs. Oilers
VANCOUVER CANUCKS (1-3-0) at EDMONTON OILERS (2-0-0)
Game-Time: 6:08 p.m. MDT
Television: Sportsnet One
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network
Oilers Twitter Lineup Updates:
The Edmonton Oilers aim to improve on their perfect 2-0 pre-season record as they take on the 1-3 Vancouver Canucks tonight at Rexall Place.
|4-20 / 20.0%
||4-12 / 33.3%
|20-22 / 90.9%
||9-11 / 81.8%
After skating away with a convincing 5-2 victory against the Tampa Bay Lightning two nights ago, the Oilers have held two consecutive days of hard practices that worked more on system play, technical skills, and conditioning for all 43 players remaining in camp.
AT THE MORNING SKATE
With a 6pm start time on the agenda, the Oilers started morning skate an hour early.
For players dressing this evening, the morning skate was one last test run of new line combinations before taking on the Canucks this evening.
Taylor Hall is slated to skate with fellow rookie Jordan Eberle
and veteran Shawn Horcoff
. Hall is comfortable with his linemates and is looking forward to his second pre-season test.
"They're both really good players. Ebs is a good buddy and Shawn's been great just kind of helping me out, just easing me in," Hall said. "I think we've had a few good practices and hopefully it carries over to the game."
is equally eager to skate with Linus Omark
and Dustin Penner
"Linus has got to much skill out there -- he's very quick, a shifty little player. And Pens has got the big reach, the strength and he's good in front, so I think me and Linus are just looking to fly around him on the ice and be like little bombers out there," Brule said with a smile.
On the back end, the Oilers will start Nikolai Khabibulin
in net. Tonight's game will be Khabibulin's first since suffering a back injury November 16, 2009. The experienced goaltender is feeling "anxious" about the game but is looking forward to returning to action.
"I'm interested to see how it's going to go, but I feel pretty good," he said. "Obviously there are a few things still to work on, and the more I'm practicing, the better they're going to get obviously. But it's going to be a good test tonight."
will back-up for the Oilers.
Tickets for tonight's game are still available. Click here to purchase online.
Game Preview: Jack Michaels & Bob Stauffer
In Focus: Pre-game vs. Vancouver
Michaels & Stauffer Game Preview
Saturday's Audio & Video:
IN FOCUS: Swede Success
|Shawn Horcoff battles in front of Roberto Luongo during last Wednesday's pre-season game in Vancouver (Getty Images)
OILERS ROSTER & LINE COMBINATIONS
Camp invite Jared Aulin will be getting his first taste of the NHL pre-season tonight when he will centre veterans Alexandre Giroux and Ben Ondrus. Aulin has been quite impressive so far through camp, as he's battled hard in practice for an opportunity to get some game action. 43 players remain in Edmonton as we come to the midway point of the NHL pre-season. With cuts and assignments to come shortly, Aulin will want to want to have a strong showing against the division rival Canucks. For many Oilers fans, it will be the first opportunity to see the dedicated centreman as he continues to make an impression on the Oilers management and coaching staff.
While it wouldn't be surprising to consider that most Oilers fans have been keying on Taylor Hall since June 25th of this year, tonight will be a unique opportunity for the dynamic forward. A little more than a week ago when camp opened, Hall played alongside Shawn Horcoff and Jordan Eberle. The trio has shown great familiarity with one another and the chemistry has been more than an on-ice benefit. Horcoff has been mentoring the two since they were put together and have shown remarkable improvement as a unit in only a week's worth of practice. Tonight will be the first opportunity for Hall to join the other two on a line as they will be counted on to produce offensively against the Canucks.
CANUCKS ROSTER & LINE COMBINATIONS
Mason Raymond (21) - Ryan Kesler (17) - Mikael Samuelsson (26)
Raffi Torres (13) - Manny Malhotra (27) - Victor Oreskovich (38)
Bill Sweatt (42) - Cody Hodgson (39) - Sergei Shirokov (25)
Aaron Volpatti (54) - Mario Bliznak (62) - Prab Rai (43)
Keith Ballard (4) - Kevin Bieksa (3)
Shane O'Brien (55) - Lee Sweatt (57)
Kevin Connauton (61) - Aaron Rome (29)
Cory Schneider (35)
Tyler Weiman (30)
Talented offensive forward Cody Hodgson finally gets to play. That's all that matters to him at the moment. After having missed the bulk of last season and suffering through injuries for much of his career as a Canuck since being drafted in 2008, Hodgson will be able to play pain-free against the Oilers on Sunday night. While the expectations need to be kept realistic, the very opportunity to watch the skilled forward will be a relief and a sight to enjoy for many Canucks fans.
Once known as a Canuck killer during his time with Edmonton, former Oiler Raffi Torres has now joined the force he used to enjoy so much success against. The gritty winger has struggled with consistency throughout his career, but is looking to enjoy a different role with the Canucks this season. Torres will always be somewhat of a force physically, but can also provide some timely offence for his club. With Torres making a return to Rexall Place as a member of the opposition, expect a feisty performance from the physically intimidating winger.