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Game Day Preview: Oilers vs. Canucks

by Staff Writer / Edmonton Oilers
After a successful opening night that saw the Oilers defeat the Colorado Avalanche 4-3, tonight marks the return of Hockey Night in Canada as the Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0) meet the Edmonton Oilers (1-0-0) in a Northwest Division clash. Right now, four of the five Northwest Division teams are tied for first place with two points. Colorado is on the outside looking in with no points.

The line of Todd Bertuzzi, Markus Naslund and Brendan Morrison are always key to the teams success but look for them to get more dangerous as the season goes on and they regain their chemistry from past years... Lee Goren overcame the odds to make the Canucks out of camp and provides a consistent scoring threat on the teams second power play unit...
Anson Carter is known for his fast starts and could cause some problems for his former team tonight.

Shawn Horcoff showed on Wednesday night that he can thrive in the role of first-line centre with a three-point performance including two goals... Ales Hemsky also had a strong game Wednesday creating a number of chances around the net. Although he came away with nothing to show for it, its only a matter of time before he breaks out... Ty Conklin is on the hot seat tonight. With Jussi Markkanen set to return from injury, the competition will soon begin for the coveted position of number-one netminder.

Edmonton: Jussi Markkanen (collarbone) is probable, at least in the role of backup for tonight; Vancouver: Tyler Bouck (groin) is out indefinitely.

Horcoffs goal 24 seconds into the game set a new team record for fastest goal at the start of a season. The fastest season-opening goal in the NHL was scored at 10 seconds by current Oilers scout Kent Nilsson, then of Minnesota, in a 4-4 tie with Quebec on Oct. 11, 1986... Chris Pronger led the Oilers with 26:39 of ice-time Wednesday night for the first of whats expected to be many evenings throughout the
2005-06 season.

Oh my God, I had chills. How could you not feel energetic after that?"
- Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff on the crowd noise and pyro-laced intro just before the teams season opener.

"It was nice to be back. (The ovation from the fans) was very much appreciated and it was good just to be back in a winning situation."
– Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi following his first regular season game back since his suspension.

The last regular season meeting between these two clubs was the final regular season game for both teams, concluding the 2003-04 campaign. Vancouver defeated Edmonton 5-2 with Igor Ulanov and Brad Isbister scoring for the Oilers. Mike Keane, with two goals, led the way for the Canucks at GM Place. Also scoring for Vancouver was Brendan Morrison, Mattias Ohlund and Markus Naslund. The win locked up top spot in the Northwest Division and third seed in the Western Conference for the Canucks.

The Oilers embark on a short two-game trip out to California where they will meet the Anaheim Mighty Ducks Monday and Los Angeles Kings Tuesday. The teams next home game is on Friday when the Dallas Stars come to town. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
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