Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Oilers (4.27.13)

Saturday, 27.04.2013 / 11:24 AM / Features
By Daniel Fung
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Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Oilers (4.27.13)
Team Record: 26-14-7
Last Game: 1-3 L vs Anaheim (APR.25.13)

Season Series: 2-1-1
Last Meeting: 4-0 W (APR.04.13)
Team Record: 18-22-7
Last Game: 6-1 W at Minnesota (APR.26.13)

Season Series: 2-1-1
Last Meeting: 0-4 L (APR.04.13)

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (26-14-7) will close out their regular season tonight when they face the Edmonton Oilers (18-22-7) at Rexall Place in a nationally televised game on Hockey Night in Canada.

What You Need to Know
  • The Canucks will close out their regular season schedule tonight and will be looking to avoid losing back-to-back games to finish the season. They dropped a 3-1 decision on Thursday night to the Ducks in their home finale – a loss that snapped their overall two-game win streak and their eight-game home win streak.
  • The Oilers, who are also playing their season finale tonight, snapped a three-game losing streak last night with their 6-1 win over the Wild. Edmonton, however, has lost six in a row at Rexall Place dating back to April 10. Their last win in front of their home fans came on April 1 in a 4-1 victory over the Flames.
  • The Canucks have won their last four regular season finales in a row and have an all-time record of 22-13-6 in regular season finales.
  • Tonight marks the fifth and final meeting between the Canucks and Oilers this season. The season series is tied at two wins each with the Canucks coming out on top in the most recent meeting winning 4-0 back on April 4 at Rogers Arena.
  • The Canucks may opt to rest several of their veterans tonight in advance of the playoffs starting next week but the Sedin twins and Ryan Kesler won't be among those getting the night off. Blue-liner Kevin Bieksa, who has missed the last five games with a lower body injury, is also expected to play tonight.
  • With Canucks G Cory Schneider still sidelined with an undisclosed injury, G Roberto Luongo is expected to get his second consecutive start tonight. He has not started consecutive games since March 12 to 18 when he started four in a row.
  • Oilers G Devan Dubnyk will get the start tonight in the season finale for Edmonton. Dubnyk has started all three games in the season series in which Edmonton has earned at least a point posting a 2-0-1 record with a 1.58 GAA and a .946 save percentage. He also recorded a shutout back on March 30 in the Canucks' last visit to Rexall Place.
  • Speaking of that March 30 game at Rexall Place, the Canucks will want to avoid a start like they had that night. Edmonton scored three times in the first 2:43 of that game to set a new franchise record for fastest three goals to begin a game eclipsing the previous mark of 3:25.
  • Canucks F Henrik Sedin (1-3-4) and Oilers F Taylor Hall (3-1-4) share the season series lead in points with four each.
  • By the end of tonight, the Canucks will know who their first-round playoff opponent will be. There are only three potential teams that could be Vancouver's opening round playoff foe: Los Angeles, San Jose and St. Louis.
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. Tame game is also available on RDS2. 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 come ready to compete. This game might not have any significance for the Canucks but you know the Oilers will be fired up with it being their last game - regular season or otherwise - of the season. Vancouver will need to weather the early storm and not allow Edmonton to run away with the game early like they've shown they're capable of doing.
  • They don't play afraid. Playoff-bound teams are often tempted to take it easy especially in games that don't affect their positioning in the standings but the Canucks know they can't afford to play timidly tonight. If they do, they not only do they run the risk of being banged around by the Oilers but they could be risking injury as well – something they definitely don't want with the playoffs just around the corner.
  • They treat the game like a playoff tune-up. The Oilers might not be a potential playoff opponent but the Canucks should treat this game like it's a playoff contest anyways. They'll definitely not want go down in defeat knowing the lineup they dress tonight – with the potential exception of number one netminder Cory Schneider and defenseman Chris Tanev – will likely be what they begin the post-season with.


The Oilers Win If...

  • They're focused on helping Yakupov's Calder case. There's not much left on the line for the Oilers this season with the exception, perhaps, of Nail Yakupov's pursuit of the rookie-of-the-year crown. Nail's teammates could greatly help his cause if they come out with a strong effort and help him put up a few more points tonight.
  • They're determined to finish off on a high note. Regardless of whether they win or lose tonight, the Oilers are still faced with the reality that they will once again be enduring a long off-season. That being said, the least they can do is give their long-suffering fans something to cheer about and send them home happy.
  • They fight for bragging rights. Edmonton might not have too many positives to look back on this season but winning the season series against the Northwest Division champion Canucks is certainly something they can be proud of if they manage to pull it off.

Ones to Watch

FRANK CORRADO

It remains to be seen whether Frank Corrado will have a significant role to play for the Canucks in the playoffs but he'll hope to convince the coaching staff that they can trust him enough to put him in the lineup when the games matter the most. His last chance to do that before the start of the post-season comes tonight.

Corrado has had a solid, if unspectacular, beginning to his NHL career and while he played his first two games as an NHLer in a top-four role on the back end, he's expected to form the third pairing tonight alongside Andrew Alberts which is where he figures to be should he manage to crack the lineup in the playoffs.

Corrado, a native of Toronto, is still looking for his first points in the NHL. He has his first two shots of his NHL career on Thursday in Vancouver's loss to Anaheim.

TAYLOR HALL

It's been a largely disappointing season – again – for the Oilers but one of the few bright spots they have had has been the play of third-year pro Taylor Hall.

Despite this season being shortened by the lockout, Hall's 48 points coming into tonight's game is just five shy of equaling the career-high of 53 points he set last season in 61 games played. He's already established a new career-high for most assists in a single season with 32 and counting. At his current production level, prorated to a full 82-game schedule, Hall would have been on pace for 89 points.

Hall, who will be a member of Team Canada at next month's IIHF Men's World Hockey Championships, snapped a two-game point drought last night with a three-point outing against the Wild. Including the four points (3-1-4) he has this season against the Canucks, Hall has amassed five goals and 11 points in 13 career games versus Vancouver.

Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at dfung_sports@hotmail.com.