Game #37 Preview: Oilers @ Canucks


Last time out, Taylor Hall had his way with the Canucks en route to a quick hat-trick.

I guess you could say the two teams going up against each other at Rogers Arena on Thursday night are heading into the game going in different directions. Which to me, is funny, because the team that has their fans feeling pessimistic has earned 5 points more than the one that has their’s suddenly feeling cocky, through the same number of games, despite missing a whole whack of key pieces. It’s all about perception and expectations…

The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers – the two squads I was referring to in the paragraph above, obviously – do battle for the fourth time this season. You’ll note that the game starts 30 minutes later than the usual start time for home games (7:30 PM PST); it’s Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon night!

More on what should be a good game just after the jump.

Broadcast Info:

Puck Drop: 7:30 PM PST (*)

Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: Team 1040

Setup:

The Canucks probably don’t look as different heading into this game as many of you had hoped they would, but it’s not for a lack of effort on their part. By all accounts they were serious players in trades involving Ryane Clowe (actually had the better offer, but likely dodged an unfortunate contract extension bullet when he chose New York), Raffi Torres, and Roberto Luongo (it’s sounding more and more like the Leafs just flat-out did not have any intentions on really acquiring him). 

Back to the perception thing we discussed before. If the team had made the Derek Roy trade just moments before the buzzer on Wednesday afternoon, everyone would be ecstatic. But instead they got their work out of the way early on, and everyone is taking the mindset of "what have you done for me lately?!" Let’s keep things in perspective. The Canucks are a substantially better team today than they were on Monday night in San Jose. Plus, according to reports more reinforcements could be on the way soon; Kesler, Weise, Raymond and Ballard were all on the ice this morning.

Speaking of Derek Roy, he figures to start his Canucks career centering the 2nd line of Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen. That means that we’ll see Alex Burrows back up with the twins, as the Nicklas Jensen experiment is at least put on hold for now. Zack Kassian is back after his conditioning/disciplinary stint in Chicago, which is a welcome sight. He’ll be starting out somewhere in the bottom six, in case you were wondering.

Finally, let’s all wish Roberto Luongo a happy 34th birthday! For his gift from Alain Vigneault, he’ll get to ride some pine as Cory Schneider starts for the 9th straight game. Schneider will be looking to make up for a disastrous outing last time out in Edmonton. If you’ll recall, he was pulled rather quickly after letting the first 2 shots by the Oilers get past him. It’s really the only blemish for him during this stretch.

There’s no doubting the fact that the Oilers are playing some good hockey right now, because they are; they’ve outscored the opposition 25-7 during their 5-game winning streak. I will point out however that they feasted (hah, get it!) on the Calgary Flames in their last two games, and well, those should really only count as 1/2 wins or something. Regardless they’re currently sitting in the 8th spot in the West (the Blues still have two games in hand on them), and could find themselves within 3 points of the Northwest Division lead by the end of the night. It’s kind of fun having them be relevant, and having games against them late in the season mean something. I’m personally welcoming it. Though of course I’m also hoping they suffer a vintage Sedin-twin beatdown on Thursday night…

Numbers Game:

  Oilers Canucks
Team Record 16-13-7 19-11-6
Goal Differential +1 +1
PP % 23.8% (3rd) 12.8% (29th)
PK % 84.5% (7th) 81.1% (16th)
FO % 45.5% (30th) 47.1% (28th)
Corsi % 44.0% (30th) 52.9% (5th)
Fenwick Close % 45.3% (28th) 53.4% (7th)
Team PDO 100.0 (17th) 100.8 (9th)

Game Day Links:

  • IM JUST LEAVING EDMONTON AFTER A 4 DAY STAY AND ALL I WANT IS FOR THE CANUCKS TO KICK SOME OILERS ASS SO I CAN TRASH TALK ALL THESE OILER FANS OUT HERE! WHO REALLY HATE OUR HOCKEY CLUB AND FANS. IM OUT HERE ALL THE TIME IN JERSEYS AND HATS AND ALWAYS LETTING THEM KNOW WHOS GOT THE BETTER CLUB!

    • Alsker

      Good luck with that. You may have a slightly better club right now
      and ONLY because of better Vets. The End is near for the Nucks
      and their dreams. You still have a solid club but the Window is
      closing. But hey, Dont you just hate the Minnesota Wild. I do.

      Oilers win 5-4 in SO.

  • Wow, the Oilers are 28th in Fenwick close and dead last in corsi?

    How am I to buy the hype when I see 45.3% and 44%?

    Did I also read the Oilers powerplay is due for a significant regression as their PP Shooting % is unsustainable?

    • Sucking at Frnwick and Corsi is predictable when you can’t win faceoffs and 3 of your lines are terrible defensively. Oilers have relied on great goaltending and their special teams.. There winning streak is do to improved 5 on 5, and Taylor Hall becoming elite.

    • Mantastic

      Our powerplay has hovering at this level for most of the year. it happens because of the talent we can run on our 2nd unit, which much better than the canucks’ first unit. the difference between the top 7 teams in the PP only differ between a percentage point.

      and of course we’re on the bottom in the league for possession when we get out shot every game by at least 5 shots.

        • Mantastic

          you clearly don’t have any concept on how shooting percentages work on the power play… talent on the PP is completely different than even strenght, i really hope you understand that.

  • This isn’t the final game between the Canucks and Oilers. They play each other again April 27th, don’t they?

    We need a win tonight so I don’t have to keep defending them at work to all the Oilers fans in my office!! Go Canucks!!

  • Gitagrip

    Really just wanted to troll by and slag the Cannots and you fans like we have been doing to the Cowtowners today. I’m sorry I just don’t have a hate on for you Left Coasters. You’re so, so, so…..inconsequential in the NHL. Just sayin.

  • Mantastic

    @gitagrip – Amazing what a three game winning streak does for your confidence (read douchebaggedness). But I think it may be a bit premature for trash talk.

    Excited about your team and its future? Good for you. Trolling other teams fan sites? You may want to be a bit father removed from the NHL sub-basement before you do that.

    Whipping a team that has just been dismantled for a re-build isn’t the be all, end all.

  • UkeeRob

    Best of luck Vancouver, you destroyed your city after game seven and now your overated sisters are going to wind up golfing in 12 games. Canuckle heads have no heart since linden.

  • Cale

    >Puck Drop: 7:30 PM PST (*)

    Dimitri, you do *not* get to put a damned asterisk next to the puck drop time and then not put another one somewhere explaining what you mean. That’s too cruel.

  • We had some bad contracts. With those bad contracts, the Oilers still have 12 million in cap space right now. Bring back Eager, and that leaves us with 11 million. Just for fun, let’s include Souray’s, even though his buyout wasn’t related to his contract, but just not wanting him here, and the number is about 9.5 million. Vancouver right now has less than 200K in cap space. Next year, we have 16 million dollars to use to sign 7-8 players. Vancouver has 1.3 million to sign 8 players. Seems our yard is just fine. Thanks for playing!

  • KleptoKlown

    Canucks win, cOilers and Leafs lose…the universe is balanced on this day.

    I keep reading “the city of Edmonton” I thought Edmonton was just a giant mall with 11 months of winter a year.