Tale of the Tape: Canucks vs. Oilers (4.4.13)
Tonight’s game is presented by GM
|Team Record: 19-11-6
Last Game: 2-3 L at San Jose (APR.01.13)
Season Series: 1-1-1
Last Meeting: 0-4 L (MAR.30.13)
|Team Record: 16-13-7
Last Game: 8-2 W vs Calgary (APR.03.13)
Season Series: 2-0-1
Last Meeting: 4-0 W (MAR.30.13)
The Vancouver Canucks (19-11-6), armed with their newest forward Derek Roy, will look to snap their two-game losing streak tonight when they host the red hot Edmonton Oilers (16-13-7) at Rogers Arena on Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon Day.What You Need to Know
- The Canucks return home to friendly confines of Rogers Arena tonight after going 0-for-2 on their recent two-game road trip including dropping a 3-2 decision in San Jose on Monday. Vancouver brings a three-game home ice win streak into tonight's tilt.
- The Canucks have lost back-to-back regulation games for just the second time this season. The first was in mid-March when they dropped consecutive home games to the Red Wings and Wild. Vancouver has not lost three straight regulation games in regular season play since November 17 to 21, 2010.
- The Oilers come into tonight's game riding a season-high five-game win streak while having scored a whopping 25 combined goals over those five outings, including a season-high eight in their 8-2 win last night over the Flames.
- Recent trade acquisition F Derek Roy will make his Canucks debut tonight. He's expected to have Higgins and Hansen on his wings. F Mason Raymond, who sat out Monday's loss with a shoulder injury, will be out again tonight. F Zack Kassian could draw back in after being re-called from Chicago (AHL) yesterday while F Bill Sweatt was sent back to the Wolves.
- The Canucks begin action today tied for first place in the Northwest Division with the Wild but Minnesota has the tiebreaker with more regulation/overtime wins. Vancouver, with a bit of help from the out-of-town scoreboard (the Wild are in Los Angeles tonight) could retake first place in the division if they earn at least a point tonight.
- Edmonton comes into tonight's sitting in sole possession of eighth place in the Western Conference but they'll need a win tonight (or losses by both the Blues and Predators in their respective games) in order to stay in that position at the end of the night.
- Tonight marks the fourth of five meetings between the Canucks and Oilers this season, and the second and final visit for the Oilers to Rogers Arena. The Oilers lead the season series with two wins to just one for the Canucks, including recording a 4-0 win five nights ago at Rexall Place.
- Canucks G Cory Schneider has started eight straight games but is coming off back-to-back regulation losses for the first time this season. G Roberto Luongo, who was not moved at yesterday's trade deadline despite rampant speculation, has not started since March 18 but is responsible for Vancouver's lone win against the Oilers this season. Luongo is 4-0-1 in his last five starts versus Edmonton.
- Oilers G Devan Dubnyk has started all three games against the Canucks in the season series posting a 2-0-1 record with a 1.58 GAA and .946 save percentage. However, he did start last night versus Calgary so Edmonton may give him a rest with the back-to-back situation. G Nikolai Khabibulin hasn't seen game action since being yanked in a game against Columbus exactly one week ago.
- Oilers F Taylor Hall's hat trick performance against the Canucks five nights ago was the first Oilers hat trick against the Canucks since Mike Grier scored three back on March 20, 1999. Hall also broke an Oilers franchise record for fastest hat trick to start a game at 7:53, surpassing the previous record of 12:38 set by Wayne Gretzky in 1986.
Tonight's game faces off at 7:30 pm PT and can be seen on Sportsnet Pacific. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.
Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.
Keys to the Game
The Canucks Win If...
- They get on the board first. During the Canucks' recent six-game win streak, with the exception of their 1-0 shootout win over Columbus where neither team scored during regular game play, the Canucks opened the scoring in all of those outings. In their current two-game losing streak, they've given up the first goal in each outing. Coincidence? Probably not.
- They avoid sudden, catastrophic collapses. The Canucks, in all likelihood, aren't going to be able to completely avoid giving up goals but they can't let one goal against snowball into two or three or four in a matter of minutes as has been the case in each the last two games. The Canucks' confidence may be rattled lately but they'll have to find a way not to completely fall apart if they give up a goal in this game – especially one that might put them behind.
- Derek Roy makes an instant impact. The newest Canuck will get an opportunity to play in an offensive role among Vancouver's top-six forwards and he should be gunning to make a good first impression. Getting on the scoresheet would be a good way to do just that.
The Oilers Win If...
- They have a repeat of last Saturday. It might be easier said than done, especially against a Canucks team that should be fired up for payback, but if the Oilers can come out like a house on fire and get some early offensive success against a shaky defense then they might be able to make this into a laugher much like it was five nights ago.
- Hall stays hot. There are few players around the league who are hotter right now than the 21-year-old sniper. Hall has goals in three straight games and points in six straight games. If he continues to produce at that level, it would be tough to bet against Edmonton coming out on top.
- They keep winning the special teams battle. A big reason for Edmonton's success in the season series so far has been because they have been the better team when it comes to both the power play and the penalty kill. In fact, it hasn't even been close. The Oilers are 3-for-11 with the man-advantage while they have killed off all 12 of Vancouver’s power play opportunities. If those trends continue tonight, so will Edmonton's win streak.
Ones to Watch
In the days leading up to the trade deadline, the Canucks made no secret they were looking for scoring depth as well as depth at the centre ice position. Newly-acquired Derek Roy seems to be a perfect fit on both counts.
The 29-year-old centre, who was acquired by the Canucks on Tuesday from the Dallas Stars, has a history of being able to put up points. He has 165 goals and 449 points in 579 career games and has surpassed both the 20-goal mark and the 60-point mark four times in his NHL career. His numbers this season – four goals and 22 points in 30 games played – might not seem too impressive but he has been playing some of his better hockey of late.
Roy had a four-game point streak snapped in his final game as a Star on Monday against the Ducks but still comes into tonight's tilt with seven points (1-6-7) in his last eight games. Roy, who will be sporting the number 15 as a Canuck, will be looking to add to the two points (1-1-2) he has against the Oilers already this season.
If Taylor Hall was any hotter these days he'd be shooting fire out of his eyes. The Oilers won't mind if he sticks to shooting pucks into opposition nets which is what he has been doing at will lately.
The former first overall pick in 2010 is playing some of his best hockey arguably since breaking into the NHL over the last half-dozen games. He has points in six consecutive outings amassing a whopping seven goals and 15 points during that stretch. After netting his third career hat trick against the Canucks five nights ago, he set a new career-high for most points in a single game last night with five (1-4-5) in Edmonton's 8-2 romp over Calgary.
A point tonight for Hall would equal his personal career-high point streak at seven games which he set at the start of this season when he notched points in his first seven games played. Hall leads all players in the season series with four points (3-1-4).
Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.