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Oilers set for another challenge from Sedins, Canucks

by Derek Van Diest

CANUCKS (7-3-0) at OILERS (4-5-1)


EDMONTON -- Defending the Vancouver Canucks' twin scoring sensations, Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin, has proven difficult for the Edmonton Oilers this season.

The Sedins and linemate Radim Vrbata have combined for 13 points in two games against the Oilers, who will play Saturday for the third time this season.

"They're good players. They are so good at keeping possession of the puck," Oilers left wing Taylor Hall said. "They don't give it up for anything. And to be honest, they play hard, they battle hard. So against players like that you want to keep the puck as much as you can and make sure we're playing in their end. When they have the puck it's almost like you have to go to the other Sedin if one Sedin has the puck and make sure you play hard on him. I'm looking forward to that matchup [Saturday]. If we can outplay them it's going to give our team a good chance."

Daniel and Henrik Sedin have enjoyed success against the Oilers throughout their careers. In 76 games against Edmonton, Daniel Sedin has 35 goals and 74 points; Henrik Sedin has 17 goals and 76 points in 79 games against the Oilers.

"The human nature part against them is the part that you don't want to do," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "The human nature part is to back off and play safe against them. But we need to close quickly, give them no space. … As much as we can see their backs [Saturday] the better."

Daniel and Henrik Sedin are off to strong starts this season; each has 12 points in their first 10 games. Vrbata has five goals and 11 points this season.

"I think always after you have a tough season you want to come back and play well," Daniel Sedin said. "For us it was more about coming back to playing the way we have to play to be successful. I don't think we had been doing that the last year and a half maybe. That was more our mindset coming into the season."

As good as they have been offensively against the Oilers this season, the Canucks' top line also has been able to shut down Edmonton's top line of Hall, center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and right wing Jordan Eberle. In the two games against Vancouver, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Eberle are pointless.

"That's a very skilled top line, and if you give them room they're going to make you look silly," Daniel Sedin said. "You have to be ready for that line. And I think they have a deeper lineup this year too. You have to be ready for them, especially on their home ice. They seem to be skating really well here."

Vancouver defeated Edmonton 2-0 that started the Oilers' seven-game homestand that will end with this rematch with the Canucks. After losing that opener the Oilers won their next four games, all against Eastern Conference opponents, but lost 4-1 to the Nashville Predators on Wednesday.

After playing the Canucks on Saturday, the Oilers start a five-game road trip Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

"Our fans have been great during the homestand," Eakins said. "They've helped us along and we'd like to leave them with something positive before we head out the door for a couple of weeks. That's where sometimes these things get rolling into something else. You win a big game against a big rival at home and then you go onto the road and that's where you want to keep that positivity going. Especially rolling into the East, where we've had some success."

Goaltender Ben Scrivens will make his eighth consecutive start for the Oilers; Ryan Miller will start in goal for the Canucks.

Here are the projected lineups:


Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Radim Vrbata

Chris Higgins - Nick Bonino - Jannik Hansen

Shawn Matthias - Brad Richardson - Zack Kassian

Tom Sestito - Linden Vey - Derek Dorsett

Alexander Edler - Christopher Tanev

Dan Hamhuis - Kevin Bieksa

Luca Sbisa - Yannick Weber

Ryan Miller

Eddie Lack

Scratched: None

Suspended: Alexandre Burrows

Injured: Ryan Stanton (groin)


Taylor Hall - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Jordan Eberle

Benoit Pouliot - Leon Draisaitl - Nail Yakupov

Teddy Purcell - Mark Arcobello - David Perron

Matt Hendricks - Boyd Gordon - Jesse Joensuu

Martin Marincin - Mark Fayne

Andrew Ference - Jeff Petry

Brad Hunt - Justin Schultz

Ben Scrivens

Viktor Fasth

Scratched: Will Acton

Injured: Nikita Nikitin (back)

Status report: Hansen moves up in the lineup to replace the suspended Burrows on the Canucks' second line. … Sestito makes his season debut after being a healthy scratch for the first 10 games. … Nikitin remains out with back spasms, but according to Eakins, he is close to a return.

Who’s hot: Henrik Sedin is on a six-game point streak. He has been held without a point in one game this season. … Hall has two goals in his past two games. He has six goals and nine points in 10 games for the Oilers.

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