Derek Roy will make his Vancouver Canucks debut tonight as the Canucks look to redeem themselves against a red-hot Edmonton Oilers club that has scored 25 goals during their current five-game winning streak.
Coming to Canadian club in the middle of the playoff hunt has the former Dallas Stars forward eager to hit the ice.
"It's really exciting to come play in a Canadian city like this. It's a great city with great fans. It's a hard to play against when you are coming on the road so it's good to be on the other side now," Roy said, while adding that his speedy linemates, Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen, will ease the transition.
"I practiced with them yesterday. It's fun to get out on the ice with guys with speed like that. I jsut have to get out there and try to learn their tendencies. We will have to talk and have a lot of communication on the bench to know where each other are at."
Coming to a Canucks team that is in desperate need of an offensive boost, with just 10 goals in their last five games, Roy understands the pressure to produce will be placed on him from the first shift.
"I've been an offensive player my whole career and all through junior and growing up," said Roy. "There's always been pressure to score goals and make plays in certain situations. I'm just going to go out there and use my speed. Both my linemates have really good speed and really good shots so I'm going to have to distribute the puck and make sure I'm open."
Despite limited time with his new centre, Alain Vigneault is pleased with what the four time 20 goal scorer brings to his team.
"He brings a unique skillset. He's the type of player who likes the puck possesion game and makes smart plays with and without the puck. He is going to help us in all areas, five on five, powerplay and penalty killing. We've got a real good piece there and we are going to use him."
Roy will be wearing #15 as a Canuck. Zack Kassian asked if Roy wanted the #9 that he had worn for eight years in Buffalo, but Roy turned down the offer.
Looking for redemption
While the Canucks have been beating up on the Oil for the last couple of seasons, this year it's been Edmonton getting the better of the Canucks, going 2-0-1 including a 4-0 win last Saturday. Alain Vigneault said reining in the Oilers top line of Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle will be priority number one.
"They basically just took us to school last game. Not just on the rush but their possesion time in our zone, the way they were cycling the puck, that was one of the best games I've seen a line have against us in a long time," Vigneault said.
"They are confident group and on a winning streak so we are going to have be real good tonight."
Cory Schneider starts for the ninth straight game and says despite having a tough night against Edmonton last Saturday, it doesn't serve as extra motivation.
"Not at all, I don't really think about how it went, I just think about them as a team," said Schneider who sports a winning record (3-2-0) against Edmonton in his career. "They are putting up a lot of goals so we are going to have a tough assignment shutting down that top line."
Zack Kassian is back with the big club after a one game stint with the Chicago Wolves. Whether or not the reassignment was meant to motivate the 22 year-old power forward, Kassian came flying out the gate, scoring 13 seconds after the opening faceoff with Chicago.
His coach says the team is still looking for Kassian, who's has a goal and a fight in two games versus Edmonton, to find the form he had at the start of the year when he scored five times in the opening seven games.
"If he plays the way that we think he can, the way that we think he can contribute to our team, which is a good skating, physical type player then he can help our group."
Finding a level of consistency is something Vigneault knows is difficult for young players around league, but believes Kassian can put all the pieces of his game together.
"He needs to be a little more consistent and that can be said about a lot of young players coming into this league, but he'll get another opportunity and hopefully he will grab this one."
Kassian will line up in the bottom six tonight, likely on a line with Maxim Lapierre and rookie Nicklas Jensen who will be making his Rogers Arena debut.
Cam Barker replaces Andrew Alberts on defence.