December 26 2010 11:47AM
Game Day Recon #34 - Oilers @ Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks last left their fans full of Christmas cheer. With their convincing win over Columbus, the Canucks reached 20 wins in only 33 games, the second fastest they've reached that marked in team history.
So tonight they need to take care of their own house and take a long-time divisional foe to task.
Game Time: 6:00 PM PT
The Canucks have beaten up on the Oilers this year, but the young Edmontonians have given their Northwest Division rivals a scare or two. The Canucks are 2-0-0 against the Oilers this year, but both games were only one goal victories. Their last meeting, a 2-1 Vancouver win, was arguably the most lopsided one-goal game of the season. The Canucks completely dominated the game, and the Oilers managed to sneak in a goal with 5 seconds left in the game.
While the Canucks should be encouraged that they can can handily control the tempo of a game against the Oilers, they should be concerned that the scoresheet has not reflected their domination in those two games.
The Canucks cannot let the Oilers hang around in those types of games. And when they do get a lead, they had better put it out of reach. If you recall their first meeting this year, the Canucks built up a 3--0 lead, then let the Oilers tie the game in pretty short order, only to have former Oiler Raffi Torres score his third of the game to seal it for the Canucks.
The Canucks are certainly capable of putting a Blue Jackets-style hurt on the Oilers. And they probably should tonight, if they want to show the Oilers how they should have won their previous two games.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Get to the goalie early. With Khabibulin the likely starter, the Canucks need to get to him early. The Bulin Wall has been pretty good in December, so Vancouver needs to get a lot of shots and traffic to the net early.
2. Roll on, Raffi! Raffi Torres has 5 points, including a hattrick, in two games already against the Oilers this year. He obviously loves laying some hurt on his former team. So let him! Get him plenty of ice time and lets see some latin HEAT brought to the ice tonight!
3. Lock down Hall and Gagner. Both Taylor Hall and Sam Gagner have been heating up lately. But neither has points against the Canucks this year. The Canucks need to keep up whatever defense they've laid on the young Oilers and do it again.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Oilers @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. Game Trax: Canucks vs. Oilers (Fox Sports)
3. Win could push Canucks into West lead (NHL.com)
4. Luongo odds facing Oilers (Sportsnet)
5. Will Torres do it again? (Faceoff.com/Province)