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Canucks at Oilers

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks
Vancouver @ Edmonton

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (1-4-0) at Edmonton Oilers (4-1-0)

TIME: Wednesday, 6:00 p.m. PST.

The Canucks look to rebound after dropping a 2-0 decision to the San Jose Sharks Tuesday.

Despite making 26 saves and head standing through a few harrowing stretches, Roberto Luongo couldn't earn his second 'W' of the pre-season.

Mike Grier chopped a rebound behind Luongo on a power play late in the first period. That's all San Jose needed, though Ville Nieminen lifted a 50-footer into an empty net with 14 seconds left for a 2-0 finish.

The Canucks are now 1-4 in pre-season play.

Special teams continue to haunt Vancouver.

After giving up eight power-play goals through the first three games, the Canucks settled down and beat Anaheim Sunday with a pair of man-advantage markers by Daniel Sedin, but couldn't carry that momentum over to the game against the Sharks.

They gave up only one power-play goal - which was the game-winner - and failed to beat Vesa Toskala on four chances of their own.

"I expect us to get better," said coach Alain Vigneault, who once again skated Markus Naslund alongside The Twins. "We've talked about getting some balanced scoring. I don't want us to be a one-line team."

"We should be able to generate some chances throughout our forward lines, but we need that good first pass, need the defence to support the attack and our defence to get their shots through."

After five pre-season games, the Canucks have scored nine goals - four of which have come from a Sedin brother.

Vigneault slotted Brendan Morrison between Jan Bulis and Matt Cooke last night, while Taylor Pyatt skated with Ryan Kesler on a third unit.

On the backend, the Canucks continue to lean on the youngsters.

Lukas Krajicek led all Vancouver skaters with 22 minutes of ice time. Luc Bourdon logged 18 minutes, and Alexander Edler played 16.

Luongo called last night's game one of the best defensive efforts of the pre-season. The Canucks killed a pair of lengthy two-man advantages and didn't surrender many even-strength scoring opportunities.

The Oilers lead the Northwest Division with a 4-1 pre-season record. They're coming off back-to-back wins over the Flames, and have had three days' rest.

Edmonton has outscored their opponents by a combined total of 16-6 and have had plenty of production from their stable of high-octane prospects.

Patrick Thoresen leads the team with a goal and three assists while Jarret Stoll, Alexei Mikhnov, and Rob Schremp round out the top four.

Seven of their 16 goals have come on the power play, which should make Wednesday's game interesting if the Canucks run into penalty trouble.

The Canucks host the Calgary Flames Friday, September 29th, at 7:00 pm.

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