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The Vancouver Canucks have clinched a playoff spot despite hopping between different cities the last two weeks. A long stint at home isn't helping the Edmonton Oilers' postseason hopes.
Ending a tough stretch of traveling, the Canucks look to deal the Oilers their fifth straight defeat at Rexall Place when the Northwest Division rivals conclude their season series Saturday night.
Vancouver (42-25-10) lost 6-5 in a shootout with Anaheim on Thursday night, but the single point for getting the game to overtime secured the team a playoff berth after failing to qualify last season.
"We're in and now we're going to focus on seeing whether we can get home-ice advantage," Canucks coach Alain Vigneault said.
Vancouver is 20-5-2 after losing its previous eight, putting it in a battle with Calgary for first place in the Northwest. A tough schedule hasn't stopped the Canucks from keeping up in that race.
Saturday's contest, which precedes a three-game homestand, will be Vancouver's eighth straight in a different city. The Canucks faced the Ducks at home after winning four contests during a 12-day, six-game road trip.
Edmonton (36-33-9), meanwhile, has lost the first three games of a six-game homestand. The Oilers are in 11th place in the West, at the bottom of a logjam of five teams vying for the conference's last two playoff spots.
Edmonton, which has lost four in a row at home and six of seven overall, has four games remaining.
"Obviously at this time it comes down to results," Oilers center Sam Gagner said. "We aren't out of anything yet and we have to pick ourselves up for the next game."
Gagner scored Edmonton's only goal in a 2-1 loss to San Jose on Thursday night. The Oilers played tough against one of the league's top teams, but a lack of production offensively was their problem yet again.
Edmonton has scored two goals or fewer in five of its last six games at Rexall Place, where it is 16-16-6 on the season.
Oilers winger Ales Hemsky, who leads the team with 63 points (22 goals, 41 assists), has been held off the scoresheet in each of his last two games. He has a four-game point streak versus Vancouver, posting one goal and four assists.
The Canucks lead the season series with the Oilers 3-2-0, winning the teams' last matchup at Edmonton 4-2 on Jan. 7.
Vancouver's Alex Burrows had a goal and two assists in that contest. He also scored Thursday, as did linemates Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
The identical twins have been red-hot over the last nine games, combining for 12 goals and 19 assists.
Vancouver will likely be short-handed at forward for Saturday's contest, with Taylor Pyatt having left the team after his fiancee was killed in a car accident. Pyatt returned to his hometown of Thunder Bay, Ontario, after Carly Bragnalo was killed Thursday in a crash while vacationing in Jamaica.
This is the second tragedy to hit the Canucks in the past year. Defenseman Luc Bourdon died in a motorcycle crash May 29.