When you're a team on a roll like the Canucks have been lately, the last thing you want is to make changes. Unfortunately, they'll have to make a roster change for reasons beyond their control tonight. On Thursday the Canucks capped off an impressive three-game home stand with a 3-2 overtime win over the Canadiens but, during the course of that game, saw Alex Burrows deliver a borderline late hit to Habs defenceman Alexei Emelin which subsequently earned him a three-game suspension from the NHL. Burrows' absence means that that Tom Sestito will get to make his season debut tonight against the Oilers. Defenceman Ryan Stanton, who has missed the last seven games with a groin injury, could also return to the lineup.
The Oilers are coming off a 4-1 loss on Wednesday to the Predators but, prior to that, had been on quite a run winning four in a row. The win streak, which began three days after they were shutout 2-0 by the Canucks back on October 17, included victories over top Eastern Conference teams like the Lightning, Capitals and Canadiens. While the Oilers have had success against Eastern foes so far, they're still searching for their win against a Western Conference opponent having gone 0-5-1 so far in intra-conference play. Ben Scrivens will get the start in goal for Edmonton while Vancouver may opt to go with backup Eddie Lack in this contest and save Ryan Miller for tomorrow night when they host the Predators at Rogers Arena.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on CBC, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Take away time and space. Aside from perhaps the final eight minutes of regulation on Thursday, the Canucks did a fine job of taking away time and space from the Habs by staying in position and stepping up at the right times thereby forcing Montreal to make poor passes and turn the puck over. They'll want to do the same against the Oilers to prevent them from being able to use their speed to attack.
Someone fills the Burrows void. Any time you lose a player from your lineup, you have to count on others to step up. In this case, with the Canucks being without Burrows for the next three outings, they'll be looking at Hansen in his promotion to Burrows' second line spot as well as the incoming Sestito to make the change as seamless as possible.
Scrivens bounces back. If the Oilers had to pick an MVP during their recent run of four wins in a row, goaltender Ben Scrivens would be among the top contenders. He had a save percentage of .940 during that streak allowing just seven goals on 117 shots faced. He'll be eager to prove his rough outing against the Preds on Wednesday was just a one-off.
By the Numbers
Points for Daniel Sedin (1-4-5) against the Oilers this season, leading all players in the season series.
Game active point streak for Henrik Sedin, leading all Canucks. Henrik has points in 9 of 10 games this season.
Games played by Oilers rookie Leon Draisaitl, meaning the first year of his entry level contract has been activated.
Career power play goals for Daniel Sedin (Canucks franchise No. 1 - Markus Naslund with 114).
NHL games played for Nick Bonino including tonight.
NHL games played for Jannik Hansen, all with Vancouver, including tonight. He is the 36th player to appear in 400 games with the franchise.