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Canucks @ Oilers

Thursday, 01.12.2005 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver at Edmonton
TV: Sportsnet; RADIO: CKNW
Vancouver Edmonton

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (15-8-2) at Edmonton Oilers (14-11-1).

TIME: Thursday, 6pm PST.

Rookie goaltender Michael Morrison looks to bounce back from his first career loss when the Edmonton Oilers host the Vancouver Canucks.

Morrison has made four straight starts for the Oilers, and had a 4-0 career mark in six NHL appearances before Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Colorado Avalanche. The 26-year-old netminder still boasts some impressive numbers, including a 1.76 goals-against average and .924 save percentage.

"They wanted to get me back for what we did to them in Colorado," said Morrison, who made 31 saves in Edmonton's 5-2 win at Denver in his NHL debut on Nov. 14.

Tuesday's loss ended a three-game winning streak for the Oilers, who have won five of their last seven with Morrison's help.

Despite their recent surge, the Oilers have managed just two goals in three of their last four games. One reason for Edmonton's decline in scoring is a power-play unit that has converted only one of its last 18 chances.

Marc-Andre Bergeron delivered that goal during the second period against Colorado. Defenseman Chris Pronger assisted on Bergeron's goal in his return to action after missing two games with a knee bruise. He has four assists in his last five games.

Vancouver's Brendan Morrison scored the go-ahead goal on a late breakaway in the second period Wednesday as the Northwest Division-leading Canucks beat Colorado 5-2. It was his second goal in as many games after going 12 straight without one.

The victory came after the team held a players-only meeting Tuesday following consecutive road losses at Phoenix and Colorado.

Alexander Auld, who made 30 saves Wednesday, is likely to remain in net as Dan Cloutier continues to work his way back from a knee sprain that has kept him out the last five games.

STANDINGS: Canucks - 34 points, 1st place, Northwest Division. Oilers - 29 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Markus Naslund, 14 goals, 16 assists and 30 points; Wade Brookbank, 56 PIM. Oilers - Ryan Smyth and Raffi Torres, 11 goals; Shawn Horcoff, 20 assists and 24 points; Ethan Moreau, 47 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS (through Nov. 29): Canucks - Power play: 16.7 percent (28 for 167), 20th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.8 percent (126 for 154), 19th. Oilers - Power play: 16.9 percent (27 for 159), 18th. Penalty killing: 82.2 percent (130 for 158), 15th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Cloutier (8-3-1, 0 SO, 3.17 GAA); Auld (7-5-1, 0, 2.57). Oilers - Michael Morrison (4-1-0, 0, 1.75); Jussi Markkanen (9-9-1, 0, 3.00).

SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Oct. 8; Oilers, 4-3. At Edmonton, the Oilers forced overtime on a goal from Torres with 23 seconds remaining in regulation. They recorded the first shootout win in team history when Torres and Ales Hamsky scored on Cloutier.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 5-7-2 on the road; Oilers - 5-4-1 at home.