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Canucks get back on the road, face Oilers

by Brian Compton
CANUCKS (44-24-4) at OILERS (23-42-7)

Last 10: Vancouver 6-2-2; Edmonton 4-5-1.

Season Series: This is the sixth and final meeting between the Northwest Division rivals. Edmonton won Round 1 on Oct. 19, 2009, but the Canucks have won the last four. The last showdown was on Jan. 20, when Vancouver skated away with a 3-2 victory at Rexall Place.

Big Story: Despite a recent 14-game road trip, Vancouver is closing in on Northwest Division crown. The Canucks have built a six-point lead on the struggling Colorado Avalanche and there are only 10 games remaining in the regular season. A division title would guarantee Vancouver home-ice advantage in the opening round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Team Scope:

Canucks: Vancouver is back on the road after going 3-1-1 on a five-game homestand. The Canucks lost in disappointing fashion on Saturday, when Henrik Zetterberg scored with 0.2 seconds remaining in overtime in a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.

"Dying seconds of overtime, it's a disappointing way to lose," said Canucks captain Roberto Luongo, who made 50 saves in the loss. "But we got a point."

Oilers: Despite possessing the fewest points (53) in the NHL, Edmonton has played well as of late. The Oilers made it two in a row on Sunday with an impressive 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks at Rexall Place. Devan Dubnyk made 27 saves for Edmonton and came within 3:02 of recording his first shutout, only to be denied by Ryane Clowe.

"When it was 5-0, the thought started to creep in," Dubnyk said. "Just a little bit. I didn't get too excited about it. Maybe if I had 20 wins, I might have been a little more desperate to get my first shutout. I was just happy to get another win. Right now I'm just happy to have that winning feeling."

Who's Hot: Canucks forward Ryan Kesler has 17 points in his last 16 games. … Dustin Penner has enjoyed multi-point games in two of his last five contests for Edmonton.

Injury Report: Vancouver forward Mikael Samuelsson will miss 2-3 weeks with a shoulder injury. Steve Bernier (sports hernia), Willie Mitchell (concussion) and Alexandre Bolduc (shoulder) are also out. … Nikolai Khabibulin (back), Ales Hemsky (shoulder), Ryan Stone (knee), Sheldon Souray (hand), Ladislav Smid (neck), J.F. Jacques (back), Ryan Jones (knee), Theo Peckham (shoulder) are all out. Patrick O'Sullivan (hand) is day-to-day.

Stat Pack: Edmonton needs seven more points in its final 10 games to avoid tying its worst record in franchise history. The Oilers had 60 points in 1992-93, which was an 84-game season.

Puck Drop: "It's a relief, yes, to have another core player under contract for a significant period of time, and we hope this is going to drive him to be even better, and help us win a championship." -- Canucks GM Mike Gillis after signing Ryan Kesler to a five-year extension

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