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Canucks at Oilers preview

Tippett coaches first game with Edmonton; Markstrom starts opener for Vancouver

by Derek Van Diest / NHL.com Independent Correspondent

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

10 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, NHL.TV

 

The Game

Dave Tippett will coach his first game with the Edmonton Oilers when they host the Vancouver Canucks in their season opener at Rogers Place on Wednesday. 

Tippett, hired by the Oilers on May 28, has won 553 NHL games as a coach in 14 seasons with the Phoenix/Arizona Coyotes and Dallas Stars. 

Goalie Mike Smith, who signed with Edmonton as an unrestricted free agent on July 1, will start after spending the past two seasons with the Calgary Flames. Forward James Neal will make his Oilers debut on the No. 1 line; he was acquired in a trade with the Flames on July 19.

Goalie Jacob Markstrom will start for the Canucks, who will wait until their home opener against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 9 to name their captain. Defensemen Chris Tanev and Alexander Edler and centers Brandon Sutter and Bo Horvat were named alternate captains on Tuesday.

 

Players to watch

Canucks rookie defenseman Quinn Hughes will play in his first season opener. The No. 7 pick in the 2018 NHL Draft played five games last season after completing his collegiate career at the University of Michigan. 

Oilers center Connor McDavid will play, fully recovered from a knee injury sustained in the final game of last season. McDavid had 116 points (41 goals, 75 assists) and finished second in NHL scoring last season, 12 points behind Lightning forward Nikita Kucherov. 

 

They said it

"I'm really excited, but at the same time I'm trying to keep my emotions in check. It should be fun, it should be good. For me, I'm just going to try and focus on my game today." -- Canucks defenseman Quinn Hughes

"There are new faces all over the room, every position, coach, management, that's new. It's a little bit of a different feel to it. We have some older guys, so more voices in the room, which is nice. It's definitely a different feel." -- Oilers center Connor McDavid

 

Canucks projected lineup 

Micheal Ferland -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- J.T. Miller

Loui Eriksson -- Brandon Sutter -- Josh Leivo

Tim Schaller -- Jay Beagle -- Jake Virtanen

Alexander Edler -- Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes -- Chris Tanev

Jordie Benn -- Troy Stecher

Jacob Markstrom

Thatcher Demko

Scratched: Adam Gaudette, Oscar Fantenberg

Injured: Antoine Roussel (knee), Tyler Motte (upper body)

 

Oilers projected lineup

Joakim Nygard -- Connor McDavid -- James Neal

Leon Draisaitl -- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins -- Zack Kassian

Jujhar Khaira -- Colby Cave -- Josh Archibald

Markus Granlund -- Gaetan Haas -- Alex Chiasson

Darnell Nurse -- Adam Larsson

Oscar Klefbom -- Ethan Bear

Kris Russell -- Matt Benning

Mike Smith

Mikko Koskinen

Scratched: Patrick Russell, Brandon Manning

Injured: Joel Persson (upper body), Tomas Jurco (undisclosed)

 

Status report

Pettersson, who won the Calder Trophy for rookie of the year last season, will center Vancouver's top line. ... Miller will make his Canucks debut after being acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Lightning on June 22.

 

Stat pack

The Oilers will try to win their sixth straight season opener; they are tied with the Lightning for the longest active such streak in the NHL. … Tippett is 8-4-2 in 14 NHL season openers … The Oilers are 21-11-2 with five ties in home openers … The Canucks are 20-20-2 with six ties in road openers.

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