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Canucks, Oilers look for first victory of new season

by Staff /

OILERS (0-1-0) at CANUCKS (0-1-0)


Season series: The longtime Northwest Division rivals, both of whom now both reside in the Pacific Division, split last season's series, 2-0-2. Each team won a game 4-0, with the Vancouver Canucks winning another one 3-2 in overtime and the Edmonton Oilers winning 3-2 in a shootout. Roberto Luongo had one win and a 3.16 goals-against average in three games for the Canucks; Taylor Hall had three goals and six points in three games for the Oilers.

Big story: After speculation about where he would end up, Luongo not only remained with the Canucks in the offseason, but saw Cory Schneider get traded to the New Jersey Devils, cementing his status as the Canucks' No.1 netminder.

Team Scope:

Oilers: After missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the seventh straight season, the Oilers hired Dallas Eakins as coach in hopes of ending that streak. In their opening game on Tuesday, the Oilers had a 4-2 lead late in the second period, but the Winnipeg Jets scored three unanswered goals and went on for a 5-4 win in Edmonton. Ten Oilers registered a point, but goalie Devan Dubnyk looked shaky, allowing five goals on 28 shots.

"We're not going to take lightly losing the game, but it's time to move on," Eakins told the Oilers' website on Thursday. "I'm not worried about Dubnyk or any of our other players. It's the nature of the beast whether we won that game or we lost that game, it's time to prepare for the next one. I expect a lot of our players to bounce back."

Canucks: Luongo had yielded playing time to Schneider the past two seasons, but now it's his team once again. He allowed four goals in a 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Thursday, though he didn't get much help from his teammates.

"It felt good, but I gave up four goals on 35 shots," Luongo said after the game. "That's not going to do it. I thought the last two periods went OK. There were some breakdowns, and I would have liked to make one or two more saves."

The Canucks looked like a team searching for its identity while getting acclimated to a new coach. John Tortorella preaches shot-blocking; the Canucks had 22 blocked shots but scored only one goal, Jason Garrison's first-period blast that gave them a 1-0 lead.

"We had a really good start. The first 10 minutes we played the way we should. Then after we scored, we turned a couple over and they [capitalized] on them and we lost the momentum," Tortorella said.

Who's hot: Ales Hemsky, thought to be on the trading block in the offseason, had a goal and an assist in the Oilers' opener.

Injury report: The Oilers will be without centers Sam Gagner (broken jaw), and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (shoulder surgery), left wing Steve MacIntyre (knee) and defenseman Corey Potter (back), all of whom are on injured reserve. Defenseman Denis Grebeshkov (groin) is doubtful. … Canucks center Jordan Schroeder (broken foot) is on injured reserve and will miss three weeks. Winger Zack Kassianis is sitting out a five-game suspension.

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