Scenes from morning skate: Another Oil Spill? Canucks go with same lineup that beat Dallas
Photo credit:© Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
26 days ago
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Just 12 games into the schedule, the Vancouver Canucks (8-2-1) have a chance to claim their season series with the Edmonton Oilers (2-7-1). After an 8-1 win on opening night followed by a 4-3 victory three nights later, the Canucks have already beaten the Oilers twice this season. Tonight they can lay claim to the four-game regular season series and with a regulation win will move an astounding 14 points clear of Edmonton in the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. These teams won’t see each other again until April 13th in Edmonton, which will be Game 80 for the Canucks.
What we saw
The Canucks will ice the same lineup that defeated Dallas 2-0 on Saturday. That means Dakota Joshua stays in the lineup and Thatcher Demko makes a fourth straight start in goal. Demko’s home ice performance has been off the charts this season. He is 4-0 with a 0.79 GAA, .970 save percentage and two shutouts. Demko has given up just three goals in his four home ice appearances.
Teddy Blueger joined his Canucks teammates for the first time since his October 6th ankle injury. For the most part, Blueger stayed to the perimeter and wasn’t heavily involved in what the Canucks were doing. It’s important to note the distinction between a game day skate and a practice. Rick Tocchet said Blueger will require a couple of full practices with his teammates before making his season debut.
The Canucks are rolling having won three straight and are 6-0-1 in their last seven outings. The Oilers enter tonight’s contest coming off back to back losses and with just one win — the Heritage Classic — in their last seven games.
To put the Canucks offensive exploits into perspective, Vancouver has scored 22 second period goals this season including both goals against Dallas on Saturday. The Oilers, meanwhile, have scored 27 goals all season.
Filip Hronek enters the night with eight assists on a six-game point streak. Ilya Mikheyev is suiting up for his 200th NHL game this evening.
The Canucks power play has been explosive this season going 12 for 40 (30%) through their first 11 games. A big part of that is the team’s success head to head with the Oilers. The Canucks are four for nine (44.4%) with the man-advantage in the two games against the Oilers.
Neither Connor McDavid nor Leon Draisaitl has scored a goal since a 6-1 win in Nashville on October 17th. Obviously their struggles won’t last forever. But for Draisaitl the drought is up to seven games while for McDavid it’s sitting at five (he missed a pair of games 10 days ago).
Evander Kane sits second in the NHL with 41 hits trailing only Keegan Kolesar of Vegas who has 49.
Consider this as tonight’s game unfolds, the Canucks are 7-0 when opening the scoring while the Oilers are 0-4 when giving up the game’s first goal this season.
What was said
Quinn Hughes on being NHL’s first star of the week: “It’s a nice honour, I guess, but it doesn’t mean too much to be honest. I think the season how we started means a lot to me. We all came to camp early. There’s been a lot of I don’t want to say pressure but over the last couple of years the way we’ve started, for our group to come out and be resilient in a sense, I take a lot of pride in that I would say.”
JT Miller on facing the Oilers for third time already: “I think we’re worried about us. When we do that we tend to have more success. We can sit here and talk about McDavid and Draisaitl all we want, but we’ve proven that if we play our game and stick to how we know how to play and our team identity that we can have success, too, against them. They’re going to get looks. That’s inevitable, but if we can limit how many and how dangerous they are that’s totally in our control.”
Tyler Myers on enjoying Canucks hot start: “It’s different. It feels good to win. The challenge for us to make sure we keep the same mindset and consistency going. We know we have a hungry, desperate group coming in tonight and we need to carry over the same mindset we had last game.”
Rick Tocchet on chance to move 14 points ahead of the Oilers: “Our approach today is two points up for grabs. We have to think that way. We can’t think of any other scenarios right now. We’re facing a dangerous hockey team. Very dangerous. And it’s a two point game.”
Referees tonight: Kelly Sutherland and Kevin Pollock
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