VANCOUVER, BC - The Oilers took to the ice at Rogers Arena in Vancouver this morning, skating with the same lineup as their home opener against Calgary. Oilers Head Coach Dallas Eakins said that’s because the team liked what they saw from their players, despite the loss.
“We liked the lineup last game,” Eakins said. “To reiterate, I thought we did a lot of good things but the result wasn’t there. The process part was there, we didn’t get the result, so we’ll go right back at it again.”
The only change in the lineup was a predetermined goalie swap, as Viktor Fasth steps in for Ben Scrivens.
The Oilers had their home opener spoiled by the Calgary Flames on Thursday night, despite outplaying their opponents for much of the game. Now Edmonton hopes to reverse roles and spoil the Canucks homecoming tonight in Vancouver.
“Vancouver has turned into a big rival,” Eakins said. “It’s interesting in that it’s always been the Battle of Alberta (against Calgary), but this has turned to be a great game no matter if it’s either at home or on the road. We want to spoil anything we can for this team and I know it’s game two, but we desperately need the points. These might be the points tonight that are critical down the stretch.”
The players understand the opportunity to hand the Canucks a loss in their home opener, but for them it is more about sticking to the process.
“You’ve really just got to focus on your own game and what we’re trying to do in here as a team,” Oilers defenceman Mark Fayne said. “We can’t be worrying about it being a big night for them and trying to spoil it. It’s a long season so you can’t be thinking about all those types of things. We’ve just got to get back to the basics and clean up a few mistakes we made.”
Oilers centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins said, “It’s their home opener. Even if it wasn’t, they’re a good, solid home team especially. We’ve got to be ready from the get-go here. We’e just got to take it like any other night and not get distracted by what’s going on with the home opener. We’ve just got to come out, play our game and build off last game.”
HOPING FOR A VIKTOR-Y
Viktor Fasth gets his first start of the season, coming off a strong pre-season in which he played three games and posted a 1.52 GAA and .944 save percentage.
“I just try to play my game and try to help my team as much as I can to get the win,” Fasth said. “I think last game we did a lot of good things and we’ve got to do that in this game too and improve those things we didn’t do very well.”
Fasth and Scrivens are expected to rotate as a goalie tandem for the season, which is a familiar strategy. Fasth says he shouldn’t have much difficulty transitioning from the pre-season to the regular season, despite sitting the first game.
“It was basically the same thing here in training camp,” Fasth said. “We played every other game in the end there. Tonight is a regular season game, so it means something. It’s always good to get those games. We’re going for the win.”
The team has a lot of confidence in Fasth coming into the lineup.
“All three games I played (in the pre-season), he was in net for them and I thought he was great,” Fayne said. “He talks a lot in net, moves the puck when he can and I feel real comfortable behind me.”