Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers face off Saturday in a rarity for this season: a single game between series versus other opponents.
Edmonton Oilers (17-11-0) vs. Vancouver Canucks (12-16-2)
Saturday: 7 p.m., Rogers Arena. TV: CBC, Sportsnet. Radio: Sportsnet 650 AM
FIVE KEYS TO THE GAME
1. Spirit: The Canucks were listless Wednesday in their loss to Montreal. “Unacceptable,” Brock Boeser called his team’s effort. The Canucks started flat and never found their feet as the Canadiens gave them no space to play and peppered Thatcher Demko with shots. Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl had their way with the Senators on Wednesday and would have had similar success against the Canucks.
2. Point pursuit: Lots has been said about the Oilers’ depth being better this season, but the bigger story is the dominance of McDavid and Draisaitl. They’re leading the league in scoring and, inside and outside of the market, everyone can see they’re back to their dominant best. The Canucks have had great goaltending from Demko of late, but they’ll need to defend better against the Oilers than they did against Montreal.
3. Rest: The Canucks last played Wednesday. The Oilers will fly to Vancouver after facing the Senators again on Friday. Saturday will be the third game in four nights for Edmonton, so the Canucks being rested could be a great equalizer.
4. No Pettersson: Elias Pettersson remains out with a suspected wrist or forearm injury. The Canucks put him on injured reserve Wednesday, which wasn’t much of a surprise given coach Travis Green said the day before that his No. 1 centre would be out another week. J.T. Miller looked great sliding into the middle in Pettersson’s absence versus the Leafs but his play slowed against the Habs.
5. Free solo: A one-game set? What is this? In a season where most games come as part of a multi-game series against the same opponent, the Oilers and the Canucks will play each other only Saturday. The Canucks fly to Ottawa on Sunday to begin a four-game swing through the nation’s capital and then on to Montreal, while the Oilers head to Calgary for a two-game set.
PROJECTED OILERS LINEUP
Leon Draisaitl — Connor McDavid — Kailer Yamamoto
Tyler Ennis — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins — Jesse Puljujarvi
Patrick Russell — Jujhar Khaira — Devin Shore
James Neal — Gaetan Haas — Alex Chiasson
Darnell Nurse — Tyson Barrie
Kris Russell — Adam Larsson
William Lagesson — Ethan Bear
Goalies: Mike Smith, Mikko Koskinen
PROJECTED CANUCKS LINEUP
Nils Höglander — J.T. Miller — Brock Boeser
Tanner Pearson — Bo Horvat — Jake Virtanen
Marc Michaelis — Brandon Sutter — Adam Gaudette
Antoine Roussel — Jay Beagle — Jayce Hawryluk
Quinn Hughes — Travis Hamonic
Jordie Benn — Tyler Myers
Oilers: PP 26.6% (8th), PK 76.7% (20th)
Canucks: PP 20% (18th), PK 80.4% (13th)
Oilers: Zack Kassian (upper-body), Slater Koekkoek (collarbone), Josh Archibald (undisclosed), Kyle Turris (lower-body) and Oscar Klefbom (shoulder).
Canucks: Elias Pettersson (upper-body), Tyler Motte (high-ankle sprain), Micheal Ferland (post-concussion) and Justin Bailey (shoulder).
Oilers (3-1-0) GF 15
Canucks (1-3-0) GF 10
(Home team in caps)
Jan. 13: Vancouver 5, EDMONTON 3
Jan. 14: EDMONTON 5, Vancouver 2
Feb. 23: Edmonton 4, VANCOUVER 3
Feb. 25: Edmonton 3, VANCOUVER 0
TEAM SCORING LEADERS
OILERS vs. CANUCKS
Leon Draisaitl 0 9 9 +6
Connor McDavid 5 2 7 +1
Kailer Yamamoto 1 4 5 Even
CANUCKS vs. OILERS
Bo Horvat 2 1 3 -2
Elias Pettersson 1 2 3 +2
Quinn Hughes 0 3 3 -1