October 19 2009 01:57PM
The Vancouver Canucks are in Edmonton tonight to take on the Oilers. A win in Edmonton tonight will earn Vancouver its first win on the road this season, as well as bring them up to .500 for the first time this year.
In short, a timely win tonight would do wonders for the Canucks.
In their win against the Minnesota Wild on Saturday, the Canucks played their first complete game of the season. They showed a consistent effort for the entire 60 minutes and kept the Wild under 20 shots on goal. They remained fairly disciplined throughout the game, and had a very effective penality kill. Their lack of both discipline and effective penalty kill have plagued the Canucks so far this season. They showed some definite signs of improvement on Saturday.
Although their offense should have done better with the number of opportunities that they had, the offense did enough to win.
The Canucks are going to need to do all that and more against an Oilers team that is much better than the inept Wild. The Canucks are lucky in that they are facing the Oilers who will be without Souray, Staios and Hemsky in the lineup due to either injury or illness.
For the Canucks to continue to improve, they still need to solidify their entire team defensive play. I am not worried about the Canucks offensive play. Even with Daniel Sedin, the Canucks are scoring enough goals to win on any given night. As well, their power play has been very effective and efficient thus far. I am also not worried about Roberto Luongo. He is notorious for his slow starts in October every season, so his stutter out of the gates thus far is no real surprise. Hopefully Luongo's every start to training this year will help him get out of this funk sooner rather than later.
What does worry me is the team's overall defensive play. If they can put together another solid defensive game, it will show me that the team has turned the corner after this rough start to the year. A responsible defensive game will also help Luongo get his game back on track and give the entire team confidence.
What the Canucks need tonight is a 2-1 or 3-1 win. Play solid, play boring, but play responsibly, and play consistently for the entire 60 minutes. Can they repeat their effort from Saturday? If they can, we should see the Canucks first notch in the "Away Win" column.