GAME DAY NOTES
After two days rest following a buzzer beater loss to the Detroit Red Wings, Vancouver heads to Edmonton to face the Oilers. Despite sitting last in the Western Conference and the NHL, Edmonton spanked San Jose 5-1 Sunday putting the league on alert that they’re prepared to play spoiler.
"It's always tough games against them," said Ryan Kesler. “We saw what they did against two really good teams, Detroit and San Jose. We're going to be ready for these guys, and we're going to initiate the play."
The Oilers defeated the Red Wings 3-2 in shootout last Friday and defeated the former Western leaders, San Jose, Sunday. They are last place in the Northwest division, the Western conference, and the League with 53 points (23-42-7).
This will be Vancouver’s last meeting with Edmonton this season. The Canucks have won four out of the five games against the Oilers this season, including a 3-2 overtime win on January 20 when Sami Salo scored with 4:06 left in the third period to tie it up. The Sedins worked their magic in overtime to score the game winning goal.
Like the Canucks, the Oilers have fought injuries all season. Though they are out of the playoff run, the Oilers have stepped it up and are playing well against some really strong teams.
"They're a hungry team and they've got nothing to lose," said Mason Raymond. "They're going out there, they're playing and they're just having fun and playing well. We have to be really prepared and I think that comes from everyone individually. As long as each individual is ready to go we should be okay."
The Canucks are not completely settled being first in their division. They are only five points ahead of the Colorado Avalanche (40-25-7) with 92 points (44-24-4), and only six points shy of leading the conference. A win tonight would create some breathing room from the Avs and bring them closer to the top.
"They've had some good teams come into the building and they've outplayed them," said Kyle Wellwood. "I think seeing us come in I think collectively they probably consider it a good challenge. They're going to be up for us like they always are, and we're going be prepared."
All lines from yesterday’s practice are intact for today’s game. Pavol Demitra did not join the team in Edmonton leaving Mason Raymond skating on the second line with Ryan Kesler and Michael Grabner. Tanner Glass will take Raymond’s spot on the third line with Kyle Wellwood and Jannik Hansen. Healthy scratches for tonight are defenceman Andrew Alberts and Nolan Baumgartner.
The Sedin twins have become a major part of Canuck history. After almost nine seasons, the Sedins are Vancouver’s top line, top scorers, and have made the books for Canucks all-time records.
Henrik Sedin has had his best season yet since joining the Canucks. He has set new career highs in goals and points. He leads the team in scoring with 95 points (28-67-95), leads the League in assists, and is only two points shy of point leader Alex Ovechkin (45-52-97) of the Washington Capitals.
Hank is the new franchise-leader in assists surpassing Trevor Linden’s 415. He now has 418 career assists and is five away from beating his 2006-2007 record of 71.
He is fourth for all-time points with 555, and sixth for games played with 718. Henrik also has a chance of becoming the first Hart Memorial Trophy winner in Canuck franchise history. His main competition would be forwards Alex Ovechkin and Sydney Crosby (45-43-88).
Brother Daniel, despite missing 18 games at the beginning of this season with a broken foot, is the second leading scorer for the Canucks with 70 points (20-50-70).
He has also set all-time franchise records in points, goals, assists, and games played. He is sixth for points with 532, sixth for goals with 199, sixth for assists with 333, and seventh for games played with 696.
Daniel is one goal shy of 200 career goals, four games short of 700 career games played with the Canucks, and two assists away from beating his 51 from last season.
Since skating with the Sedins consistently this season, forward Alex Burrows has set new career highs in all categories registering 59 points (32-27-59) including back-to-back hat tricks. Mikael Samuelsson joined the Sedin line in the third period against the Nashville Predators on March 7 and earned 11 points in five games including his first NHL hat trick against the Avalanche on March 9.