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Tale of the Tape: Pre-season Game 3

Saturday, 21.09.2013 / 10:00 AM / Features
By Daniel Fung
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Tale of the Tape: Pre-season Game 3
Pre-season Record: 0-2-0
Last Game: 1-4 L vs Edmonton (SEP.18.13)

2013 Season Series: 2-2-1
Last Meeting: 1-4 L (SEP.18.13)
Pre-season Record: 2-1-1
Last Game: 4-1 W at Vancouver (SEP.18.13)

2013 Season Series: 3-1-1
Last Meeting: 4-1 W (SEP.18.13)

Storylines

The Set-Up

The Vancouver Canucks (0-2-0), still in search of their first win in the exhibition campaign, look to exact a measure of revenge on the Edmonton Oilers (2-1-1) when the two teams clash at Rexall Place tonight.

What You Need to Know
  • Tonight marks the third of six pre-season games the Canucks will play this year. It's also the second and final time they'll face the Oilers in exhibition play. For Edmonton, it is their fifth of eight pre-season contests.
  • Edmonton beat Vancouver 4-1 on Wednesday at Rogers Arena thanks to a four-goal first period. F Brendan Gaunce, Vancouver's leading goal scorer in pre-season, potted his second tally in as many games in the loss.
  • New Canucks head coach John Tortorella, who has opted for a bird's eye view for the first two pre-season games, will make his actual behind the bench debut tonight.
  • Canucks F David Booth, who has not played in a game since injuring his ankle way back on March 16, is expected to suit up for his first pre-season contest tonight.
  • Other notable Canucks who could make their respective pre-season debuts tonight include F Chris Higgins, F Jordan Schroeder and D Alexander Edler.
  • Don't expect G Roberto Luongo, who gave up four goals on 18 shots in Wednesday's loss to Edmonton, to suit up tonight.
  • Former Canucks G Jason Labarbera, now of the Oilers, will be between the pipes tonight for Edmonton. He has seen the fewest minutes played out of all goaltenders in Oilers' camp appearing in just one game totaling 31 minutes of play time.
  • It may be only pre-season but should the Canucks be concerned with their man-advantage? They're 0-for-7 after two games played. Last season their power play finished 22nd overall clicking at only a 15.8 percent success rate.
  • On the plus side, Vancouver's penalty kill has successfully killed off 9-of-10 opposition power plays although F Jordan Eberle's tally for Edmonton last game came one second after a D Kevin Bieksa penalty had expired.
  • Speaking of the PK, F Daniel Sedin and F Henrik Sedin both enjoyed some short-handed time in Wednesday's loss. In total, they combined for 4:40 of short-handed time-on-ice. During the entire regular season last year, they combined for just a total of 11:18 short-handed TOI.
Follow the Action

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen coast-to-coast in Canada on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. 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...

  • The Torts effect kicks in. For the first time ever, the Canucks will have new head coach John Tortorella hovering over them on the bench. If there's ever a time to make a strong first impression, it would be right now.
  • They limit shots against. The Oilers weren't exactly pushing for more goals after going up 4-0 on Wednesday but give credit to the Canucks for quieting Edmonton down in the latter part of that loss three nights ago. They gave up just 13 shots over the final two periods of that outing. In their first four periods of pre-season this year, they surrendered a whopping 56 combined shots.
  • The kids keep making an impression. It remains to be seen which of the young guns will get an opportunity again tonight but so far they've been the standouts. In particular, the likes of Hunter Shinkaruk and Brendan Gaunce have certainly performed to a point where they will be making decisions tough for management in the days to come.


The Oilers Win If...

  • They come out firing again. It's pretty hard to lose when your opponent spots you a four-goal first period lead. A repeat of Wednesday's first period early tonight and Edmonton can look forward to just coasting to another win.
  • LaBarbera picks up where he left off. The ex-Canuck netminder hasn't seen action since starting the Flames' pre-season opener one week ago and stopping all 12 shots he faced in just over 30 minutes of action. He's been tabbed to be the back-up to Devan Dubnyk this season so he'll want to continue making a strong impression to make sure those plans don’t turn sideways.
  • The Hall testing pays off. The Oilers' experiment to turn Hall into a centre – at least in the interim with RNH still on the mend – will continue tonight with the former number one overall pick bringing up the middle between a pair of veterans in Hemsky and Smyth. Hall has one goal in two pre-season games so far.

Ones to Watch

DAVID BOOTH

Tonight's game may not have much significance as far as wins and losses go but for David Booth there's plenty on the line.

Booth, barring a setback, is expected to appear in his first game action since since suffering an ankle injury last March. Tonight's contest will be the first step in a long road back for the 28-year-old that will require him to prove that not only has he overcome his latest injury but that he's still capable of being the same power forward that put up 31 goals just five short years ago.

Booth saw action in just 12 games last season netting one goal (an empty-netter) and three points. While points accumulated tonight won't go towards his NHL totals, his next regular season point will be the 200th of his NHL career.

NAIL YAKUPOV

There will be plenty of eyes on last year's super rookie Nail Yakupov this season to see if the dynamic Russian may fall victim to the dreaded sophomore slump.

In his first NHL campaign last season, Yakupov led all NHL rookies in goals with 17 and tied Florida's Jonathan Huberdeau for most points by a rookie with 31. Despite all that, Yakupov was snubbed for the Calder Memorial Trophy and was not even named one of the finalists for the award that goes to the rookie of the year.

Yakupov has been off to a solid pre-season start netting a pair of assists after two games played although his team has been on the losing end in each contest he has suited up in. Yakupov did not dress in the Oilers' win in Vancouver on Wednesday so there's a good chance he'll draw into the lineup tonight in front of the home crowd.

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.