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Oilers-Canucks Preview @NHLdotcom

GAME: Edmonton Oilers (34-24-11) at Vancouver Canucks (37-27-6).

TIME: Thursday, 10 p.m. EST.

The Vancouver Canucks got a much-needed win over the Edmonton Oilers this week. They can really benefit from getting two more.

These Northwest Division rivals play the second of three meetings in five days, part of a critical set of games between teams fighting to make the playoffs.

Before winning 4-1 at Edmonton on Tuesday, the Canucks had lost six of seven while being outscored 27-12. They also hadn't beaten the Oilers in five previous meetings this season.

The win moved Vancouver a point ahead of Edmonton, which fell into a tie with Los Angeles for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

"We got a fresh start here," Canucks captain Markus Naslund said following the club's first victory in Edmonton since March 12, 2004. "We're a desperate team and we need the wins."

The next two games these teams play are both in Vancouver, with the season series getting completed on Saturday.

Tuesday's game saw Daniel Sedin lead the Canucks with two goals, including a power-play tally in the first period. Trevor Linden opened the scoring at 5:26 and Sedin made it 2-0 at 9:36.

"We gave them a lot of momentum early," said Oilers defenseman Chris Pronger. "It's tough to climb out of that hole."

Vancouver's fast start followed a team meeting Monday in which Naslund said the Canucks worked through a number of issues.

"You could see a real sense of urgency on our part," said Vancouver goaltender Alex Auld, who made 29 saves.

Edmonton pulled within 2-1 when Raffi Torres scored 1:10 into the second period, but Vancouver's Ryan Kesler scored later in the period and Sedin added an empty-netter with 1:08 remaining.

"We did a lot of talking, but we didn't do much playing," Oilers coach Craig MacTavish said. "The puck at times looked like a foreign object to us."

Tuesday's loss was the second in a row and sixth in eight games for the Oilers, who have failed to score more than three goals in 11 consecutive games.

Edmonton goalie Dwayne Roloson stopped 28 shots and played well in Tuesday's loss, but he is just 2-3-2 since being acquired from Minnesota on March 8. In five of those seven games, Roloson has allowed four or more goals.

STANDINGS: Oilers - 79 points, 4th place, 5 PB, Northwest Division. Canucks - 80 points, 3rd place, 4 PB, Northwest Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Oilers - Ryan Smyth, 31 goals; Ales Hemsky, 51 assists; Shawn Horcoff, 68 points; Jaroslav Spacek, 90 PIM. Canucks - Naslund, 29 goals; Henrik Sedin, 51 assists and 68 points; Jarkko Ruutu, 118 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Oilers - Power play: 17.9 percent (76 for 425), 15th in NHL. Penalty killing: 83.2 percent (351 for 422), 14th. Canucks - Power play: 18.0 percent (83 for 461), 14th. Penalty killing: 82.1 percent (367 for 447), 17th.

GOALTENDERS: Oilers - Roloson (8-20-3, 1 SO, 3.02 GAA); Ty Conklin (7-5-1, 1, 2.85). Canucks - Auld (29-21-4, 2.92); Mika Noronen (1-3-0, 4.16).

SEASON SERIES: Oilers, 5-1.

LAST MEETING: Tuesday; Canucks, 4-1. At Edmonton, the Canucks got off to a good start with a 17-shot first period and held the Oilers scoreless in five power-play opportunities.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Oilers - 18-11-5 on the road; Canucks - 20-8-4 at home.

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