It wasn't a perfect outing on Wednesday in Calgary for the Canucks but, as far as season openers go, it was not a bad way to start. Not only did the good guys come away with a 4-2 win to get their campaign started on the right foot, but they also received goal production from three players who will need to be key contributors this season if they are to make a return to the playoffs – namely Alex Burrows, Zack Kassian and Radim Vrbata. The news wasn't all good for the Canucks, however. Chris Tanev was absent from practice on Thursday and Friday after apparently suffering an undisclosed injury in the win over the Flames. If he's unable to suit up, expect Yannick Weber to slot into the lineup for the first time this season.
The Oilers will be an ornery bunch after being knocked off in their season-and-home opener on Thursday in a 5-2 loss to the Flames. Edmonton should be especially desperate to get in the win column quickly in order to avoid a repeat of their start from a year ago. Last season, the Oilers started off the year with back-to-back losses – their second game was a 6-2 loss in Vancouver – and ended up winning just one of their first eight contests. They finished the season with the worst record in the Western Conference. The Canucks won three of the five head-to-head meetings between the teams last season, although the Oilers closed out the season series with back-to-back victories. Ryan Miller is expected to get the start tonight for the Canucks, while the Oilers will counter with Viktor Fasth.
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
Come out ready. Nothing beats getting off to a strong start in your very first home game. Conversely, nothing kills a crowd faster than watching the opponent getting the jump on you on opening night – just ask the Flames or the Oilers. Early momentum, and the first goal, will be critical tonight.
Be better in the faceoff circle. Vancouver's overall depth at centre is supposed to be one of their improved strengths this season but it didn't work that way in the faceoff dot in the season opener when they won just 39 percent of their draws. Unless they want to spend tonight chasing the puck, the centres need to do their part.
Shoot from everywhere. The Oilers only managed two goals in their ill-fated home opener but it wasn't for a lack of opportunities as they out-shot Calgary 40-26 in the loss. If they keep on shooting like they did on Thursday, they're bound to hit the back of the net at some point.
By the Numbers
All-time win percentage for the Canucks in home openers (22-16-5).
Assist needed for Daniel Sedin to reach 500 career assists.
Career win percentage for Ryan Miller against the Oilers (7-0-0).
Losses in a row for the Canucks against the Oilers in head-to-head meetings.
Years since the Canucks last opened a season with two straight wins (2008.09).
Goals allowed by the Oilers last season – most in the NHL.