Boeser and Miller vs Oilers

For the first time since November 6th, the Vancouver Canucks will battle the Edmonton Oilers. 

It has been a long time since these two Pacific Division opponents have matched up and at this time of the year, where both teams are in the standings, it is an important game for both Canadian clubs. 

The Canucks have taken all three of the prior matchups of the season, winning 8-1, 4-3, and 6-2 in the early part of the 2023-24 season. The Canucks currently sit at 105 points while the Oilers have 101 but have two games in hand. 

Edmonton will play five games in the final seven days of the regular season and that will include Saturday night’s game being the second game of back-to-backs as the Oilers host the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night. 

The Oilers are playing well during this late part of the season. In their last eight games, they are 6-1-1 and have outscored their opponents 31-18 over that stretch. 

Between the pipes, Stuart Skinner is the leader and made 54 starts through 77 games. Skinner holds a .907% save percentage with a 35-14-5 record. Over his last 15 games, he is 10-1-3 with a .922% through that stretch. 

Calvin Pickard is the backup, and he could come into play with the back-to-back scenario for the Oilers. Pickard has a .913% save percentage and is 12-6-0 in his 18 starts. 

The Oilers are 10-3-2 over their last 15 games and the leader in points over that stretch is Connor McDavid with 30 points. McDavid has been day-to-day and will not play on Friday night against the Yotes but did say on Friday morning that he will see about Saturday night. 

Quick Hits on the Competition: 

  • Leon Draisaitl is one of the two players in the NHL with 20+ power play goals this season. Draisaitl has 21 while Florida’s Sam Reinhart has 27.
  • The Oilers are 19-2-1 on home ice when they score the first goal of the game.
  • If they can take a lead into the first intermission, they have a 16-0-1 record.
  • Third periods have been critical for the Oilers on home ice, they have outscored their opponents 61-28 in third periods at Rogers Place.
  • Saturday’s game will be the first time this season that the Canucks face the Oilers with Kris Knoblauch behind the bench. 

Following an overtime loss on Wednesday night, the Canucks had a clear message from their Head Coach Rick Tocchet. He wants to see his team keep shots low and on target. It will be interesting to watch how the Canucks attack on Saturday night and how they prioritize shots on net instead of attempting to pick corners.  

Quinn Hughes continues to put together a season for the Canucks’ record books and is now up to 91 points. He is up to 17 goals on the season and as you’ll see later in this preview, he has been the hottest Canuck over their last five games. 

Brock Boeser has scored six goals in the three games against the Oilers this season. 

Conor Garland has had the hot hand of late and is now just one tuck away from hitting the 20-goal mark for the second time in his six-year NHL career. 

Playing physically has been a key for Dakota Joshua all season long and his injury did not slow that down one bit, instead, it cranked up his physical play. Joshua has averaged 5.5 hits per game since returning to the lineup on March 28th. 

After picking up three power play goals in their last two games and seven in their last six, the Canucks’ power play sits ninth in the NHL with a 22.9% conversion percentage. 

The Canucks currently sit four points up on the Oilers, but a win on Saturday night could help put them in the driver’s seat of the Pacific Division pennant race. 

Canucks’ Top Performers over Last Five: 

Quinn Hughes: 4g-5a-9p 
J.T. Miller: 1g-6a-7p 
Conor Garland: 4g-1a-5p 
Brock Boeser: 2g-2a-4p 
Elias Pettersson: 1g-3a-4p 

Saturday night’s all-Canadian affair is a 7:00 pm PT start and can be viewed on Hockey Night in Canada. You can listen to the radio broadcast on Sportsnet 650 or the Sportsnet Radio Network.