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Oilers-Canucks Preview

Wednesday, 08.06.2014 / 2:49 AM
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Oilers-Canucks Preview
Edmonton Oilers vs. Vancouver Canucks



Start Time: 8:08 p.m. MDT

Television: CBC (HD)

Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Tonight's Game Notes by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com

The Edmonton Oilers look to end a three-game road trip on a positive note when they take on the Vancouver Canucks tonight at GM Place.

After opening the season with four straight wins, the Oilers dropped their last two by a combined score of 7-1. They fell 3-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday and then 4-1 to the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.

Despite Thursday's 4-1 setback, the OIlers showed some promise in that game despite it being the second game of a back-to-back set. However, after Edmonton took the initial lead in the second period the Avs potted four unanswered markers to gain the win.

Vancouver started the season on a positive note as well with back-to-back wins against the Calgary Flames. However, they have only won once in four tries since then. 

The Canucks have also dropped each of their last three games with the most recent being a 4-2 setback against Columbus this past Tuesday.

This is the first of six meetings this season between Edmonton and Vancouver. Last season, each team won four times in eight meetings.

Just The Facts...

The Answers

Pre-Game Video...

Bob Stauffer and Marc Crawford preview tonight's game Pre-game comments from Erik Cole, Steve Staios, Steve MacIntyre & Craig MacTavish Pre-Game Audio... Craig MacTavish  Erik Cole  Steve Staios  Steve MacIntyre Bob Stauffer and Marc Crawford preview tonight's game Friday's Video: Craig MacTavish Robert Nilsson

News Update...

Oilers assign Peckham to Springfield - General Manager Steve Tambellini announced today the Oilers have assigned defenceman Theo Peckham to the Springfield Falcons. Peckham was recalled October 23 but did not dress in Thursday night's game. ...more

The Other Side

Tale of the Tape: Oilers vs. Canucks - Though they're only seven games into the season, the Vancouver Canucks are already facing some difficult challenges on the injury front. Jason Krog and Kyle Wellwood slot back into the lineup and hope to spark the Canucks offense. ...more A Hockey Life - Mike Brown - In our continued attempt to give you a deeper insight into the lives of hockey players, we bring you the first edition of "A Hockey Life". Mike Brown shares his penchant for Harley’s and hockey cards. ...more

From the Fans

Click here to read today's gameday thread on the Oilers message board.

Odds and Ends

Power of 10,000 caps returns to Rexall - On Monday October 27th when the Oilers host the Boston Bruins at Rexall Place, the Edmonton Oilers Ladies in conjunction with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation will present their 4th Annual Caps for Cancer Fundraiser. ...more This or That? with Denis Grebeshkov - Things aren't always black and white, but we made Denis Grebeshkov choose Option A or Option B on a variety of topics, including cities, holidays, and sports (other than hockey, of course). ...more

From the Wire (AP)

Though they're only seven games into the season, the Vancouver Canucks are already facing some difficult challenges on the injury front.

The Canucks return home for the first time in over two weeks on Saturday, but won't have offseason acquisition Pavol Demitra in the lineup for their matchup against the Northwest Division rival Edmonton Oilers.

Vancouver (3-4-0) kicked off 2008-09 with a 6-0 home win over Calgary on Oct. 9 before embarking on a six-game road trip in which it went 2-4-0. The Canucks lost the final three contests of the trip, falling 4-2 to Columbus on Tuesday.

But they were hampered by a variety of ailments to several players during that swing with Demitra's injury being the most devastating.

The 33-year-old center underwent an MRI on Wednesday that revealed fractured rib cartilage, an injury he suffered in Sunday's 4-2 loss at Chicago and one that is expected to sideline him for three to four weeks.

The Canucks' highest-paid forward after signing a two-year, $8 million contract this summer, Demitra has two goals and an assist in six games.

Vancouver was also without forwards Darcy Hordichuk (knee) and Rick Rypien (viral illness) and defenseman Sami Salo (groin) on Tuesday.

Hordichuk practiced Thursday and could be in the lineup Saturday, while Rypien and Salo are day-to-day, according to the Canucks' official Web site.

"We're still in the process of evaluating our team," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said. "With that being said, there are some areas that we are going to work on here in the next couple of days."

One aspect Vigneault's club will try to correct is its special teams play. The Canucks converted two of 24 power-play chances and allowed opponents to score nine times in 30 opportunities with the man advantage during the trip.

"We're really close in my mind to being again, one of the top penalty killing teams in the league," Vigneault told the Canucks' site. "That being said about the penalty killing I feel we've got the elements to have a good power play and for whatever reasons we got away from what we were doing at the beginning."

Vancouver seeks improvement versus an Edmonton team that is 1-for-13 on power-play opportunities over its last three games. The lone goal in that stretch came from Shawn Horcoff in the second period of a 4-1 loss at Colorado on Thursday night.

Horcoff's goal is all the offense the Oilers (4-2-0) have managed through the first two contests of their three-game trip, which started with a 3-0 loss to Chicago on Wednesday.

Edmonton averaged 3.3 goals in opening with four straight victories for the first time since starting 5-0-0 in 1985-86.

"We were moving the puck, keeping our game simple," defenseman Sheldon Souray said. "That seemed to help us out at the beginning."

Souray and Ales Hemsky assisted on Horcoff's goal Thursday, and share the Oilers lead with five points apiece. But in an effort to jump-start the slumping offense, coach Craig MacTavish adjusted the lines in Friday morning's practice.

It is expected that Horcoff will center the top line with Robert Nilsson and Hemsky, while Andrew Cogliano will center the second with Dustin Penner and Sam Gagner, according to a report on the Oilers' official Web site.

Those combinations will match up against Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo, who went 4-1-2 with a 1.68 goals-against average in seven games versus the Oilers last season.

2008-2009 season series
DateScoreW. Goal
Apr 04 '09 VAN 3 at EDM 5 S. Souray
Jan 07 '09 VAN 4 at EDM 2 S. Bernier
Dec 26 '08 EDM 3 at VAN 2 S. Souray
Dec 17 '08 EDM 2 at VAN 4 D. Sedin
Dec 13 '08 VAN 0 at EDM 3 D. Penner
Oct 25 '08 EDM 3 at VAN 6 K. Wellwood
A. Hemsky7066-3000
D. Grebeshkov7145+01000
S. Souray6145+0400
A. Cogliano7224+1201
R. Nilsson7224+0611
E. Moreau7134+4800
S. Horcoff7303-1620
L. Visnovsky7213-2021
D. Penner7202+2001
E. Cole7112-32310
F. Pisani5112+2200
M. Pouliot7022-1000
S. Staios5101+3700
J. Strudwick7011+0700
T. Gilbert7011-2200
S. Gagner6011+1400
K. Brodziak7000-2000
S. MacIntyre5000-11200
Z. Stortini5000-22900
L. Smid3000-1700
M. Garon53-2-0161563.20.897
J. Deslauriers11-0-03293.00.897
D. Roloson10-1-03303.00.900
R. Kesler8369+2400
A. Burrows8347+31401
H. Sedin8257+01001
M. Raymond8336+0020
D. Sedin8246+1200
S. Bernier8235-1900
J. Hansen8314+1400
A. Edler8134+31010
W. Mitchell8044+31500
P. Demitra6213-2201
K. Wellwood3213+0021
M. Ohlund8123+11110
K. Bieksa5123+0700
S. Salo6033-1000
R. Rypien5202-1700
R. Johnson8022+1400
J. Krog2101+0210
S. O'Brien9011-11500
T. Pyatt8011-11200
D. Hordichuk6000+01200
L. Nycholat3000-2200
M. Brown2000+01200
R. Davison2000-1500
R. Luongo74-3-0221993.29.889
C. Sanford20-1-05413.75.878