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VANCOUVER CANUCKS (42-25-10) at
EDMONTON OILERS (36-33-9)
Start Time: 8:10 p.m. MDT
Television: CBC (HD)
Radio: 630 CHED, Oilers Radio Network and online at edmontonoilers.com.Today's Game Notes | Oilers/Canucks Head-to-Head | Stats Comparison Oilers Twitter Lineup Updates:
by Marc Ciampa | edmontonoilers.com
The Edmonton Oilers play the fourth game of a six-game homestand tonight against the red-hot Vancouver Canucks.
It's been a difficult past two weeks for the Oilers, having lost six of their last seven games. The stretch has seen the team go from seventh place in the Western Conference down to 11th and four points out of the playoff race with just four games to go.
Three of those four games are at Rexall Place including tonight's clash against the Vancouver Canucks - one of the hottest teams in the NHL over the past two months.
The Canucks have a share of the Northwest Division lead with the Calgary Flames, holding a game in hand on the Flames. Since February 3, they have only lost five times in regulation and as a result skyrocketed up the standings all the way to top spot.
This is the sixth and final meeting of the season between the Oilers and Canucks. Edmonton has won twice while Vancouver has won three times.
Just The Facts...
Oilers/Canucks Preview with Bob Stauffer & Marc Crawford
Pre-Game comments from Sheldon Souray, Theo Peckham & Craig MacTavish Sheldon Souray, Ethan Moreau, & head coach Craig MacTavish discuss reports claiming there is a rift in the Oilers locker room. The Other Side: Canucks pre-game comments from Alex Burrows and Roberto Luongo The Tencer Report: Oilers vs. Canucks Pre-Game Audio... Sheldon Souray Theo Peckham Ethan Moreau Craig MacTavish. Friday's Video:
Off-Day Comments with Kyle Brodziak, Zack Stortini, Jason Strudwick & Craig MacTavish Jason Strudwick on his Bill Masteron Trophy nominee for 2008-09 Zack Stortini on making an impact with his recent play Friday's Audio: Kyle Brodziak Zack Stortini Jason Strudwick Craig MacTavish
Strudwick nominated for Masterton - The Edmonton chapter of the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association has named defenceman Jason Strudwick as the Edmonton Oilers nominee for the 2009 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. ...more
The Other Side - news from canucks.com
Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Oilers - The Canucks travel to Edmonton for a quick one-game trip as they try for home-ice advantage in the post-season. The Oilers hope to remain in the playoff picture with just five games remaining in their regular season. ...more Kristin Reid - A Time to Focus - The Vancouver Canucks deal with another tragic death in the family as Taylor Pyatt leaves the team to grieve the loss of his fiancee Carly Bragnola and the team travels to Edmonton for a short trip. ...more King of the Rink - Ryan Johnson - After so many games, practices, plane rides, and dinners the players have had enough time to get to know each other right? We decided to put their knowledge to the test. How well do they know Ryan Johnson? ...more
Odds and Ends
THE LINK: Tom & Taylor in the Spotlight - In this newest episode of the link, we take a closer look at the Oilers blue line. Tom Gilbert spends a day with NHL Network cameras and Taylor Chorney talks about his career influences, musical tastes and roommate pet peeves. ...more Kevin Lowe clears up Katz comment - Oilers President of Hockey Operations Kevin Lowe spoke to the media on Thursday night after the game to talk about Team Owner Daryl Katz's message sent to Bob Stauffer earlier today that Craig MacTavish "is not going anywhere." ...more This or That? with Taylor Chorney - Defenceman Taylor Chorney is only a few days into his first NHL call-up, but even this fall's rookie camp couldn't prepare him for his first Off the Ice interview. Among the topics addressed? Favourite breakfast staples, coastal cities, and newspaper sections. Check out his answers. ...more
From the Wire (AP)
The Vancouver Canucks have clinched a playoff spot despite hopping between different cities the last two weeks. A long stint at home isn't helping the Edmonton Oilers' postseason hopes.
Ending a tough stretch of traveling, the Canucks look to deal the Oilers their fifth straight defeat at Rexall Place when the Northwest Division rivals conclude their season series Saturday night.
Vancouver (42-25-10) lost 6-5 in a shootout with Anaheim on Thursday night, but the single point for getting the game to overtime secured the team a playoff berth after failing to qualify last season.
"We're in and now we're going to focus on seeing whether we can get home-ice advantage," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
Vancouver is 20-5-2 after losing its previous eight, putting it in a battle with Calgary for first place in the Northwest. A tough schedule hasn't stopped the Canucks from keeping up in that race.
Saturday's contest, which precedes a three-game homestand, will be Vancouver's eighth straight in a different city. The Canucks faced the Ducks at home after winning four contests during a 12-day, six-game road trip.
Edmonton (36-33-9), meanwhile, has lost the first three games of a six-game homestand. The Oilers are in 11th place in the West, at the bottom of a logjam of five teams vying for the conference's last two playoff spots.
Edmonton, which has lost four in a row at home and six of seven overall, has four games remaining.
"Obviously at this time it comes down to results," Oilers center Sam Gagner said. "We aren't out of anything yet and we have to pick ourselves up for the next game."
Gagner scored Edmonton's only goal in a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday night. The Oilers played tough against one of the league's top teams, but a lack of production offensively was their problem yet again.
Edmonton has scored two goals or fewer in five of its last six games at Rexall Place, where it is 16-16-6 on the season.
Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 63 points (22 goals, 41 assists), has been held off the scoresheet in each of his last two games. He has a four-game point streak versus Vancouver, posting one goal and four assists.
The Canucks lead the season series with the Oilers 3-2-0, winning the teams' last matchup at Edmonton 4-2 on Jan. 7.
Vancouver's Alex Burrows had a goal and two assists in that contest. He also scored Thursday, as did linemates Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The identical twins have been red-hot over the last nine games, combining for 12 goals and 19 assists.
Vancouver will likely be short-handed at forward for Saturday's contest, with Taylor Pyatt having left the team after his fiancee was killed in a car accident. Pyatt returned to his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after Carly Bragnalo was killed Thursday in a crash while vacationing in Jamaica.
This is the second tragedy to hit the Canucks in the past year. Defenseman Luc Bourdon died in a motorcycle crash May 29.