The Vancouver Canucks (18-10-5) will try to extend their win streak to six games when they host the Edmonton Oilers (11-19-3) at Rogers Arena.
It’s the second meeting of the season between the two Pacific Division rivals with the Canucks skating to a 6-2 victory in their home opener on October 5th. That night Brad Richardson and Jason Garrison book-ended the scoring with short-handed goals while Ryan Kesler scored once, was involved in a scrap and had nine shots on goal. Daniel Sedin’s goal in that game remains his lone goal against Western Conference opponents this season.
Chris Higgins is holding the hot hand right now. Going back to his overtime winner against Phoenix last Friday night, Higgins has been in on five of the last six Canucks goals (1+4=5). In Monday’s 2-0 win over Carolina, Higgins posted his second consecutive two assist game.
Kevin Bieksa logged a season-high 26:50 of ice time -- including 10:51 of the third period -- the most ice Bieksa had seen in a regular season game since January 2012. Eddie Lack posted his first career shutout in that game but will watch from the bench tonight as Roberto Luongo returns to the crease. Yannick Weber could draw in on defense in place of Andrew Alberts.
In their past 22 games, the Canucks have allowed more than three goals on just four occasions (5 vs LAK & NYR and 3 vs LAK & ANA). On this current win streak, the Canucks have surrendered only six goals in their past five games outscoring opponents 14-6.
Dan Hamhuis is celebrating his 31st birthday today. Tom Sestito remains day to day with an undisclosed injury that kept him out of Monday’s game against Carolina. Tonight is just the second time this season an opponent arrives at Rogers Arena after playing the night before (New Jersey on October 8th).
The Oilers arrive here after a 4-2 loss at home to Boston last night. David Perron scored both Edmonton goals and leads the team with 14 on the season. He and Taylor Hall have 10 of the last 18 goals the Oilers have scored over their past five games. Devan Dubnyk got the start in goal last night but gave up three goals on 18 shots and was replaced after one period by former Canuck Jason LaBarbera.
Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers with 28 points on the season. He and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins share the team lead with 17 assists.
The Oilers have struggled against Western Conference opponents this season winning just 4 of 14 games (4-8-2) and within the difficult Pacific Division they are 1-4-2 with their only victory coming November 16th in Calgary.
Only the NY Islanders have given up more goals this season than the 112 surrendered by the Oilers. And no team has allowed more short-handed goals than the 7 Edmonton has allowed while on the power play.
Second-year forward Nial Yakupov has 1+1=2 in his last nine games and is a run-away leader for the worst +/- in the league at -20.
Boyd Gordon (shoulder), Ilya Bryzgalov (neck) and Ryan Smyth (neck) are all likely to miss tonight’s game with injuries.