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Oilers' Pinizzotto ready to face old team in Canucks

by Derek Van Diest

CANUCKS (12-6-0) at OILERS (6-10-2)


EDMONTON -- Edmonton Oilers right wing Steven Pinizzotto is looking forward to his season debut, particularly because it comes against his former team.

Pinizzotto will be in the lineup for the Oilers against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday at Rexall Place, called up from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League on Monday. Pinizzotto played 12 games for the Canucks during the 2012-2013 season.

"It's my old team, I know a couple of guys over there, but it's a game day, I just have to be prepared to play and I'm excited," Pinizzotto said. "I need to get the puck in deep and finish my checks, and I think the high-end guys and the crowd builds on that. When you get those guys involved then you start winning game. I just like to bring some intensity, finish my checks and hopefully do some offensive stuff too. I'll just be simple, play an easy game and try to get pucks deep."

The Oilers are still looking for a win against the Canucks and a Western Conference opponent this season. Vancouver won the previous three games between the teams this season. The Oilers (0-8-1) have not defeated a team in their own conference.

"This is the rival now, this is the team where the players clearly dislike each other," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "That always makes for an entertaining game for both sets of fans. In the games that we've played, I think the games have been very close. I think we've made some mistakes at critical times in the game and that's something that every team is looking to get out of their game."

Vancouver defeated Edmonton 3-2 on Nov. 1. Canucks left wing Derek Dorsett scored the winning goal, shorthanded in the third period, following a turnover by Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens.

Oilers left wing Taylor Hall sustained a knee injury in the game and missed the next six games. Hall returned to the Oilers lineup Sunday and scored in a 2-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes.

"I think the last game it was real close, they lost Hall halfway through, that could have made a difference for them in the game," Canucks coach Willie Desjardins said. "I think they're probably looking at it that way, they're looking for a win, so they're going to come real hard at us. If we don't have great effort [Wednesday] we won't win."

The Canucks scored an empty-net goal in a 2-0 win against the Oilers on Oct. 17 and defeated Edmonton 5-4 in a shootout on Oct. 11.

Canucks right wing Zack Kassian returns to the lineup Wednesday, having missed the past five games with a lower-body injury.

"Edmonton is a good young team, they have a lot of firepower," Kassian said. "We've come out of here with two points the last couple of times, but we know it's not going to be easy [Wednesday]. They've been really close games, we have to work hard, play a 200-foot game and we have to be really good defensively if we're going to beat this team."

Scrivens will make his third consecutive start for the Oilers. Ryan Miller will start for Vancouver.

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino - Alexandre Burrows

Shawn Matthias - Brad RichardsonZack Kassian

Derek DorsettBo Horvat - Jannik Hansen

Ryan StantonKevin Bieksa

Dan HamhuisYannick Weber

Alexander EdlerChristopher Tanev

Ryan Miller

Eddie Lack

Scratched: Luca Sbisa, Linden Vey

Injured: Tom Sestito (leg)


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Benoit PouliotMark ArcobelloNail Yakupov

Teddy PurcellLeon DraisaitlDavid Perron

Matt Hendricks - Boyd GordonSteven Pinizzotto

Nikita NikitinMark Fayne

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Keith AulieJustin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Luke Gazdic, Martin Marincin, Jesse Joensuu

Injured: None

Status report: Joensuu comes out of the lineup to make way for Pinizzotto on the Oilers fourth line. … Vey will be a healthy scratch for the first time this season.

Who's hot: Hall scored in his first game back from a knee injury Sunday. He has a point in six of his past seven games. … Daniel Sedin has 74 career points against the Oilers in 77 games. Henrik Sedin has 76 points in 80 games against the Oilers.

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