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Canucks look to continue perfect December vs. Oilers

by John Kreiser

OILERS (11-19-3) at CANUCKS (18-10-5)


Last 10: Edmonton 5-4-1; Vancouver 7-2-1

Season series: This is the second of five games between the Pacific Division rivals. The Vancouver Canucks beat the Edmonton Oilers 6-2 on Oct. 5 in their home opener.

Big story: The Canucks will try to stay perfect in December by winning the opener of a back-to-back weekend at home. Vancouver is 5-0-0 this month and has won the first three of a five-game homestand that concludes with a visit from the Boston Bruins on Saturday. The Oilers flew to Vancouver after a disappointing 4-2 home loss to the Bruins on Thursday.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton outplayed one of the NHL's top teams for most of the game Thursday, but a letdown in the last 10 minutes of the first period were more than the Oilers could overcome. Boston scored three times in less than eight minutes to take a 3-0 lead to the dressing room at the first intermission, and though the Oilers scored twice in the second period and ended up outshooting the Bruins 41-31, they came up short.

"Even in the first, I didn't think we were horrible. I thought we were a victim of circumstance a little bit," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "Maybe not totally comfortable in our skin in the first, but in the second and third, obviously that's how we want to play."

Canucks: What do you do when the schedule-maker gives you a three-day break at home? If you're a Canucks rookie, you get up on stage at the team's annual Dice & Ice Benefit and sing the chorus of "I Will Remember You" with singer Sarah McLachlan. Three of the four first-year players limited themselves to the chorus, but forward Zac Dalpe, an aspiring musician, sang along with the two-time Grammy winner and acquitted himself admirably.

It was part of back-to-back days off for the Canucks before they host the Oilers on Friday and the Bruins on Saturday -- a game that marks Boston's first visit to Rogers Arena since Game 7 of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.

"If I have an opportunity to give them a day or two off, especially with our schedule," coach John Tortorella said Thursday, "I'm going to give it to them."

Roberto Luongo confirmed that he will start against the Oilers.

Who's hot: David Perron has five goals and nine points in the Oilers' past five games, including both goals against the Bruins. … Luongo is 3-0-0 and has allowed four goals in his past three starts.

Injury report: Center Boyd Gordon (shoulder) and goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov (head) are day-to-day for the Oilers. … The Canucks are without defenseman Alexander Edler (lower body) and forward Alexandre Burrows (broken jaw), neither of whom is close to returning.

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