The Edmonton Oilers hit the road tonight to battle the Vancouver Canucks for the fourth and final time this season. It’s also the second and final meeting at Rogers Arena in Vancouver. The Oilers took the first meeting in Vancouver 3-2 on December 1st. They have won two of three meetings this season.
Both the Oilers and Canucks are coming off of victories on Saturday night. Edmonton edged Montreal 4-3, while the Canucks were vastly outplayed but cashed in on their chances and defeated the Penguins 4-1 at home. Both teams have the next three days off for the Christmas break.
Mikko Koskinen starts for the Oilers, while Jacob Markstrom gets the nod for the Canucks.
Keys To The Game:
Edmonton: Strong five-on-five play will be key for the Oilers tonight. We know the Oilers powerplay and penalty kill can dominate a game, but they desperately need more at five-on-five. The Oilers were better in this area over the weekend, especially against Pittsburgh. Bring that same kind of play to the arena tonight and they’ll be in position for two points.
Vancouver: Play a more disciplined game. The Canucks have had the better of the five-on-five play in all three previous matchups, but they’ve been tortured by Edmonton’s powerplay. The Canucks can ill afford to make mistakes tonight and go on the penalty kill. Keep the game five-on-five, they’ve had success in that game state.
Players To Watch:
Edmonton: Josh Archibald recorded his first multi-point game as an Oiler on Saturday. He recorded his first goal as an Oiler earlier this month against these same Canucks. Edmonton’s fourth line has been good as of late, with Archibald and Sheahan starting to find their stride. The speedy winger is hot right now, and is due for more market correction in terms of his offense.
Vancouver: Tanner Pearson always kills the Oilers. The former Kings and Penguins forward has 22 points (9-13-22) in 37 games this season and has found a home in the Canucks’ top six. He had four points (2-2-4) against Edmonton on November 30th and a goal on opening night. He always finds the scoreboard in these games.
Brandon Manning is once again the defensive scratch, while Sam Gagner and Jujhar Khaira are expected to be scratched up front again. Markus Granlund and Patrick Russell remain in the lineup after Saturday’s win.
Edmonton Oilers Lines:
Leon Draisaitl – Connor McDavid – Zack Kassian
James Neal – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins – Alex Chiasson
Joakim Nygard – Riley Sheahan – Josh Archibald
Markus Granlund – Gaetan Haas – Patrick Russell
Darnell Nurse – Ethan Bear
Oscar Klefbom – Adam Larsson
Kris Russell – Caleb Jones
The Canucks are currently dealing with a number of injuries. Brandon Sutter is day-to-day with an undisclosed injury. Josh Leivo, Thatcher Demko, Michael Ferland, Tyler Graovac and Alex Edler are on the injured reserve. Leivo recently suffered a fractured kneecap, while Edler is dealing with an upper-body injury.
Vancouver Canucks Lines:
Tanner Pearson – Bo Horvat – Loui Eriksson
J.T. Miller – Elias Pettersson – Brock Boeser
Antoine Roussel – Adam Gaudette – Jake Virtanen
Tim Schaller – Jay Beagle – Tyler Motte
Quinn Hughes – Chris Tanev
Oscar Fantenberg – Tyler Myers
Jordie Benn – Troy Stecher
Connor McDavid is going back to the All-Star Game. The Oilers captain was once again named the captain of the Pacific Division All-Star Team on Saturday. He is joined by David Pastrnak (Atlantic), Nathan MacKinnon (Central) and Alex Ovechkin (Metropolitan). Expect Leon Draisaitl to join him on the roster.
The Oilers road penalty kill has been nothing short of terrific as of late. They have killed their last 16 penalties taken on the road, all within their last five road games played. Another positive stat? The Oilers are 13-5-3 against the Canucks since the start of the 2015-16 season.
The dynamic duo continues to amaze. Both McDavid and Draisaitl scored on Saturday night against the Canadiens. McDavid (54%) and Draisaitl (53.1%) are currently the top two players in the NHL in terms of highest percentage of team goals involved in. McDavid also leads the league in multi-point games with 18.