After having the last four days off to stew over their disappointing 5-0 loss to the Coyotes on Friday, you can bet the Canucks are itching to get back to game action. Perhaps the only thing they're looking forward to more than just simply getting back out on the ice is getting to face the Oilers once again. Tonight marks the fourth meeting between the Canucks and Oilers in this young season and Vancouver is looking to build on their impressive 3-0 record against the team from Alberta's capital. Vancouver will get some good news on the injury front as they are expected to welcome back forward Zack Kassian back to the lineup. Linden Vey is expected to be the odd man out with Kassian returning. Defenceman Luca Sbisa has also been cleared to return but, based on Wednesday's morning skate, it would appear Sbisa will remain on the sidelines in favour of Yannick Weber, the latter who will see time on the first unit power play.
Like the Canucks, the Oilers are also coming off a home loss to the Coyotes after dropping a 2-1 decision to Arizona on Sunday. The loss was Edmonton's third straight (0-2-1) and seventh in their last nine outings (2-6-1) dating back to October 29. The Oilers' greatest concern, however, has to be the fact they are still searching for their first win against a Western Conference opponent with the season nearly one-quarter over. Edmonton has a 0-8-1 record against the West this season with their lone point coming from a shootout loss against Vancouver back in their second game of the season. After tonight's clash, the Canucks and Oilers won't meet again until April 11 in the very last game of the regular season for both clubs. Ryan Miller will start for the Canucks while Ben Scrivens will get the call for the Oilers between the pipes.
Puck drop at 5 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Make shots count. The Canucks may have outshot the Coyotes 35-23 on Friday but sometimes quality trumps quantity. When even the opposition goaltender is suggesting he had an easy night, you know not many of those shots were real good ones. The Canucks have to make their shots dangerous and do a better job generating rebound opportunities.
Hit Hall. Tonight is Taylor Hall's second game back in the lineup since he was forced to miss six games with a knee injury caused in part by a Chris Tanev hit back on November 1. Knowing what happened the last time these teams met, Hall might be a bit apprehensive when it comes to physical play. If he's worried about getting hit, it makes him that much less effective overall.
Play it safe early. Edmonton knows they'll be facing a fired-up Vancouver squad so they won't want to give the visitors an early edge. The Oilers sit near the top of the league when it comes to most first period goals surrendered although only two of the Canucks' nine goals in the season series have come in the opening frame.
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks this season with Zack Kassian out of the lineup (3-2-0).
Ryan Miller's save percentage in his last three starts (12 goals allowed on 69 shots).
Goal needed by Taylor Hall to reach 100 career NHL goals.
Straight games without a goal for Henrik Sedin, his longest drought of the season.
Points for Daniel Sedin (1-4-5) in three games against the Oilers, leading all players in the season series.
Career wins (and no losses) for Ryan Miller against the Oilers. He has a 1.79 GAA and .937 save percentage vs. EDM all-time.