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AT THE MORNING SKATE
Following their most impressive offensive performance of the season last Friday, the Oilers are back in action tonight when they take on the Vancouver Canucks. Edmonton is hoping to bring some of that Chicago success into Rexall Place, but they know it won't be easy against a tough division rival.
"[The Canucks are] a good team, and we've said it before, we've had good teams in here not so long ago and we have to measure up," Head Coach Tom Renney said after the morning skate. "A team like Vancouver really helps you sharpen your senses to the point where you have to be spot-on."
The Canucks have a lot going for them, Renney added.
"They've got a nice blend of [antagonism] and skill and talent, obviously. Their goaltending is certainly solid, so you've got to play a complete game to beat them."
Forward Sam Gagner is looking forward to the challenge.
"They're definitely a fun team to play against," he said. "Every time we play against them it's usually a pretty big battle. We seem to have a really good rivalry with them and I think the biggest thing for us is getting off to a good start, getting pucks in deep and make sure we get our forechecking game going and hopefully we'll get some offence off of that."
Thankfully, the tactics that resulted in a 7-4 win over the Blackhawks is fresh in the Oilers' minds.
"Any time you play against Stanley Cup Champions, it seems to raise your level of play," Assistant Coach Kelly Buchberger explained. "We scored six goals, I think, off the rush and obviously we've got to really watch tonight against the Sedins and make sure we work their D."
Captain Shawn Horcoff said the win was great but consistency is required.
"The biggest thing is trying to find some consistency and be in there night in, night out," he explained. "That's the hardest thing that comes with youth is trying to find a way to be there every day. Our schedule has been pretty easy on us so far and obviously it's going to be tough here in the month of November so it'll be a good test to see how we can hold up."
Renney said he was "a little bit" surprised Deslauriers wasn't picked up by another team.
"I hold him, as well all do, in pretty high regard as a goaltender and I guess it's one of those situations where it's early enough, people don't quite know what their needs are and feel that they have to have a better idea of what they need," the coach explained. "But having said that, he's a good goaltender, he's our guy, and he'll head to Oklahoma City and play."
-- Jen Sharpe, edmontonoilers.com
Season Series: This is the first of six meetings between the Northwest Division rivals. Vancouver won four of the six matchups in 2009-10.
Big Story: The Canucks appear to ready to really get on a roll, as they enter Tuesday's action riding a three-game winning streak. Vancouver made it three in a row with a 3-0 victory against the New Jersey Devils on Monday night at Rogers Arena.
Canucks: Vancouver continued its winning ways on home ice Monday night by disposing of the struggling Devils. Raffi Torres, Ryan Kesler and Henrik Sedin all found the back of the net as the Canucks improved to 5-0-1 at Rogers Arena.
Now, it's time for them to pick up their first road victory. Vancouver is off to an 0-3-1 start away from home.
"It's just an exciting place to play in every night," forward Jeff Tambellini said. "It's such a great building, so electric and it's nice to have that in front of you every night. "I think it's tough for the opposition, too. This crowd gets going pretty good then we have a couple of shifts where we start buzzing, and it becomes an intimidating place to play.”
Oilers: They may be young and inexperienced, but that doesn't mean this Edmonton squad can't be competitive. Even though they've won only once in their last seven contests, the Oilers have earned points in three straight games and are coming off an impressive 7-4 victory against the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on Friday night.
Seven Oilers had two points on the night, including a pair of goals from Sam Gagner.
"We knew it was a big test, obviously them being Stanley Cup champions and for a young team like us," said rookie Taylor Hall, who had a goal and an assist. "Through two periods we played very well. Maybe we got a little nervous there in the third period, but we hung together and that's all that matters."
Who's Hot: Henrik Sedin's goal on Monday night was his first goal of the season, but he's racked up 12 points in 10 games. Roberto Luongo recorded his first shutout and lowered his goals-against average to 2.56. … Oilers forwards Jordan Eberle, Ales Hemsky and Shawn Horcoff have 4 goals and 4 assists in nine games.
Injury Report: The Canucks are hopeful Alex Burrows, who has been practicing with the team, can return after missing the start of the season with a shoulder injury. Alexandre Bolduc (ankle) and Sami Salo (ACL) are out. … Oilers forward J.F. Jacques (back) is out indefinitely.
Stat Pack: Canucks defenseman Keith Ballard returned to the Vancouver lineup Monday night after missing five games due to a concussion. They were the first games he has missed since 2006-07 with Phoenix. … After having just one game in nine days, the Canucks will now play four in six nights.
Puck Drop: "I think slowly but surely we're becoming less spectators in games and more participants from top to bottom in our lineup. Our guys are proud kids. They want to get the respect of the rest of this League, and opportunities like tonight are a good way to do that." -- Oilers coach Tom Renney after Friday's win at Chicago
-- Brian Compton - NHL.com Staff Writer