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Preview: Oilers at Canucks

Edmonton's Connor McDavid leads NHL in scoring, Ryan Miller in goal for Vancouver

by Kevin Woodley / NHL.com Correspondent

OILERS (6-1-0) at CANUCKS (4-2-1)

10 p.m. ET; SN360, SN1, NHL.TV

 

Oilers team scope

The Edmonton Oilers are feeling confident after winning six of their first seven games for the first time since 1985-86. Edmonton is on a four-game win streak that includes a 4-1 victory against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday. The Oilers are tied with the New York Rangers for the NHL lead in scoring with an average of 3.86 goals per game. "Guys are feeling confident about themselves and as a group we're feeling confident as well," said captain Connor McDavid, who leads the NHL in scoring with 11 points. "So coming to the rink we're expecting to win games now and it's a lot different than it was last year, when you'd come in and it would be more of a hope kind of thing." For all the focus on McDavid, who leads the team with four goals, the Oilers have four players with three goals and nine with at least two. "It's allowed us to win games, quite frankly," coach Todd McLellan said of the diverse scoring. "When you get scoring from unusual sources on a regular basis, you have a way better chance of winning." The Oilers are also defending better since a 6-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres on Oct. 16. Goalie Cam Talbot was pulled briefly in that game but has started all seven and leads the NHL with six wins. "Recently we have focused on shutting things down and we held a very good offensive Washington team to one goal and that was a good sign," McDavid said. "It helps when you have a goaltender like Talbot."

 

Canucks team scope

The Vancouver Canucks are last in the NHL in scoring (14 goals) and know they can't afford to open things up against the high-scoring Oilers. "We definitely do not [want a track meet], and we don't anticipate one," forward Jannik Hansen said. "They are filling the net on a lot of different teams, so we need to play to our strength, not theirs." Vancouver will try to slow the Oilers without top-pair defenseman Christopher Tanev, who was placed on injured reserve Thursday after originally being listed as day-to-day with a lower-body injury. Rookie defenseman Troy Stetcher replaced Tanev on the top pair with Alexander Edler in a 3-0 home loss to the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday and will play there against the Oilers and McDavid. "Obviously I am new to the League so I don't have too much experience against a player like that so I'll watch video," Stetcher said. "He's a phenomenal player. You don't want to give him all the time in the world. You have to find a balance of respecting him and at the same time respecting yourself and your systems." The Canucks, who are playing their eighth game in 14 days, executed their system well while winning their first four games but have slipped defensively during their 0-2-1 slide. "Sometimes when you get tired you wonder if it's structure or just because you're late getting to spots," coach Willie Desjardins said. "I don't think we've been quite as good lately."

 

Oilers projected lineup

Milan Lucic -- Connor McDavid -- Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Zack Kassian

Patrick Maroon -- Leon Draisaitl -- Jesse Puljujarvi

Tyler Pitlick -- Mark Letestu -- Anton Lander

Oscar Klefbom -- Adam Larsson

Andrej Sekera -- Kris Russell

Darnell Nurse -- Eric Gryba

Cam Talbot

Jonas Gustavsson

Scratched: Anton Slepyshev, Matthew Benning

Injured: Drake Caggiula (hip), Matt Hendricks (lower body), Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Brandon Davidson (upper body), Mark Fayne (lower body)

 

Canucks projected lineup

Daniel Sedin -- Henrik Sedin -- Loui Eriksson

Markus Granlund -- Brandon Sutter -- Jannik Hansen

Sven Baertschi -- Bo Horvat -- Jack Skille

Jayson Megna -- Brendan Gaunce -- Jake Virtanen

Alexander Edler -- Troy Stetcher

Ben Hutton -- Erik Gudbranson

Luca Sbisa -- Philip Larsen

Ryan Miller

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Nikita Tryamkin, Alex Biega, Michael Zalewski

Injured: Christopher Tanev (lower body), Derek Dorsett (shoulder), Alexandre Burrows (neck), Anton Rodin (knee), Tom Nilsson (undisclosed)

 

Status report

By placing Tanev on injured reserve, the Canucks were able to use his roster spot to call up Zalewski from Utica of the American Hockey League, giving them a spare forward. "It's just to give us some depth in case something happens," Desjardins said.

 

Who's hot

McDavid has one goal and four assists during a three-game point streak. Pouliot has two goals and an assist in the past two games and Nugent-Hopkins has three assists in his past two games. … Miller is 12-0-1 against the Oilers, and his .962 save percentage is his best against any opponent.

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