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Oilers set to open season at Vancouver

by Brian Compton

OILERS (0-0-0) at CANUCKS (0-1-0)


Season series: This is the first of four matchups between the teams. The Canucks took five of six from the Oilers in 2011-12.

Big story: It didn’t take very long for a goaltending controversy to brew in Vancouver. Roberto Luongo, who has been the subject of trade rumors for months, found himself between the pipes for the Canucks on Saturday night after starter Cory Schneider allowed five goals on 14 shots and was pulled in a 7-3 loss to visiting Anaheim.

Team scope:

Oilers: Is this the year the young and exciting Oilers make the jump into the Stanley Cup Playoffs? With up-and-coming stars Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle all a year older, combined with the additions of Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz, it’s not farfetched to think Edmonton can qualify for the big dance. Obviously, Vancouver will provide the Oilers with a tough challenge right off the bat.

"It's a game in Vancouver where everybody's expecting Vancouver to take the points so let's go right at them, right away and let's play to win and not to try and keep the game close or not to lose,” new Oilers coach Ralph Krueger said. “It's about playing forward, playing with our speed and using our weapons all the time. That's what we're going to worry about."

Canucks: Schneider, who signed a three-year, $12-million contract last summer, was pulled from the Vancouver net after allowing goals to Corey Perry and Kyle Palmieri just 11 seconds apart early in the second period. It wasn’t exactly the season debut the 26-year-old was hoping for, but there are still 47 games to go.

“I know in a market like this, you have to be accountable and responsible,” Schneider said. “You have to perform and produce, and I didn't.”

Injury report: Nikolai Khabibulin (groin) and Theo Peckham (hip flexor) are day-to-day for the Oilers, while Ryan Jones (eye) and Andy Sutton (knee) are out. … Canucks goalie prospect Eddie Lack (groin) has been sidelined since Nov. 27. Forwards Steven Pinizzotto (groin), Samuel Pahlsson (ruptured Achilles tendon), David Booth (groin) and Ryan Kesler (wrist) are also all out.

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