Game 34: Canucks vs. Oilers (12.13.13)
If you weren't paying close enough attention, you might not even know that then Oilers are in town tonight to battle the Canucks. After all, with all the hype surrounding the Bruins' visit Saturday night, Friday's clash with Edmonton has understandably taken a bit of a back seat. The Canucks, however, can't afford to look past even the woeful Oilers and waste an opportunity to continue gaining ground in the standings. They'll especially want to ensure they keep the momentum of their current five-game win streak heading into Saturday's rematch of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.
While the Oilers' overall season record has been dreadful, their recent record hasn't been all that terrible. They've won seven of their last 12 games knocking off some decently-tough teams along the way including the likes of the Avalanche and Predators although they fell 4-2 last night to Boston. Roberto Luongo will be between the pipes for the Canucks tonight. Tonight marks the first time that Zack Kassian will face the Oilers since his stick-swinging incident back in the pre-season which ended up breaking the jaw of Edmonton's Sam Gagner. This is the second of five meetings between the Canucks and Oilers this season. Vancouver won 6-2 back on October 5 in their first meeting at Rogers Arena.
Puck drop at 6 pm PT - Live on CBC, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Get early momentum. It's understandable if the Canucks might be a step behind early on coming off a rare three-day break but knowing how fast starts have been critical to their success lately, they'll want to make sure they shake off the rust in a hurry not to mention take advantage of a potentially tired Oilers squad.
The twins start producing again. The Canucks know from experience they can only have success up to a certain point without the Sedins chipping in. Henrik and Daniel have zero combined points in their last two games. They won't want to let that stretch to three.
Hall stays hot. He may have been held point-less last night against Boston but Taylor Hall is as hot right as he's been all season. Prior to yesterday's outing, Hall had been riding a four-game point streak scoring five goals during that stretch. Hall had zero points and a minus-four rating in the first meeting of the season against the Canucks.
By the Numbers
Win percentage (2-2-0) this season against teams that played that night before.
Win needed for the Canucks to reach 1,400 all-time in franchise history (regular season).
Times Oilers G Devan Dubnyk has been pulled from a start this season, including last night vs. Boston.
Straight games the Canucks have opened the scoring in.
Straight home games without a regulation loss (5-0-1) for the Canucks to the Oilers dating back to Dec. 26, 2011.
Power play goals scored by Ryan Smyth all-time with Edmonton, two shy of tying Wayne Gretzky for second all-time in franchise history.