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Oilers hope to continue turnaround against Canucks

by Deborah Francisco
OILERS (18-26-4) AT CANUCKS (29-15-4)


Last 10: Edmonton 2-7-1, Vancouver 5-3-2.

Season Series: This is the fourth meeting of six between these Northwest Division rivals. Vancouver has prevailed twice so far in the first three meetings, including a 5-3 decision in the last meeting on Dec. 26.

Big Story: This is the final game for both of these teams before the week-long All-Star break, and both teams will be looking to enter it on a positive note. Interestingly, both teams are coming off of wins against the San Jose Sharks as they enter Tuesday's match.

Team Scope:

Oilers: Edmonton snapped a three-game skid with a 2-1 shootout victory against the Sharks on Monday night. The shootout-winning goal came off the stick of Taylor Hall in the form of a backhand move that was just enough to push the puck past San Jose's Thomas Greiss.

"The message that was sent, it's really good to get a win," Hall told the Oilers' web site. "If we can get another one going into tomorrow going to the All Star break feeling good about ourselves, we can kind of start a new season after the break."

Devan Dubnyk was the real story of the game, however, stopping 44 shots through overtime -- plus an additional three saves in the shootout.

"You have to give some credit to Duby … he played unbelievable, he kept us in there, he's the reason why we won tonight, so I think a lot of the credit has to go to him," Oilers winger Jordan Eberle said.

Eberle, who will represent the Oilers in the 2012 Molson Canadian NHL All-Star Skills Competition this weekend, scored the club's lone regulation goal in the first period.

The victory was just the sixth victory in 26 outings for the Oilers.

Canucks: Vancouver continues to dominate the Northwest Division with 62 points – an eight-point advantage over second-place Colorado. Despite the lead, the Canucks lost two in a row last week before edging the Sharks, 4-3, on Saturday.

The Canucks' success has not been due to any one or two players, but has been a combination of everyone chipping in – including rookie Cody Hodgson, who notched his first ever two-goal game on Saturday. Hodgson has seven goals and seven helpers in 16 games. He is fourth in rookie scoring with 29 points.

"Everybody wants to contribute and do well," Hodgson said. "It doesn't matter who gets the goals on the team, we just want to play well and come out with a win."

There has been some pressure on center Ryan Kesler to produce more offensively and use his linemates more effectively. Kesler answered the criticism with a goal on Saturday.

"It looks like the coach really sparked him there with those comments," defenseman Kevin Bieksa said. "Vintage Kes is back … a great goal by Kesler."

With the victory against the Sharks, the Canucks are 1-1-1 so far in a six-game homestand.

Who's Hot: Eberle continues to lead the Oilers in points (45) and has three points in his last five games (2 goals, 1 assist). … David Booth has two goals in two games since returning from a knee injury on Jan 15.

Injury Report: The Oilers are without injured rookie forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and defenders Tom Gilbert, Cam Barker and Ryan Whitney. … Vancouver defenseman Sami Salo (concussion) is out indefinitely. Ebbett (collarbone) is on injured reserve.

Stat Pack: Historically, the Oilers have outscored the Canucks 826-710; however, in the last two seasons, the Canucks have outscored the Oilers, 27-22.

Puck Drop: "When you play good games, you just use that good feeling and you try to feed off of that last game and use that -- and that's what momentum is." -- Oilers goalie Devan Dubnyk
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