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Oilers @ Canucks: Oilers In Search Of Seventh Victory In Eight Games

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Oilers' hot start put to the test as team heads on the road to Vancouver.

This is defenceman Troy Stecher.  Stecher has 1 career NHL game, and will pair with Alex Edler to defend the McDavid Line tonight.
This is defenceman Troy Stecher. Stecher has 1 career NHL game, and will pair with Alex Edler to defend the McDavid Line tonight.
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports


Edmonton

@

Vancouver
6-1-0, 12 points, 1.714 p/g Ranks 4-2-1, 9 points, 1.285 p/g
Pacific Division - 1st Pacific Division - 3rd
3rd P/G 10th
13th ST 19th
20th S/G 30th
9th Goal 5th
8 PM MDT
TV - Sportsnet 360,
Radio - 630 CHED
Rogers Arena
The opposing view:

PROJECTED
FORWARDS

Milan Lucic - Connor McDavid - Jordan Eberle
Benoit Pouliot - Ryan Nugent-Hopkins - Zack Kassian
Patrick Maroon- Leon Draisaitl - Jesse Puljujärvi
Anton Lander - Mark Letestu - Tyler Pitlick

DEFENCE
Oscar Klefbom - Adam Larsson
Andrej Sekera - Kris Russell
Darnell Nurse - Eric Gryba

GOAL
Cam Talbot
Jonas Gustavsson


SIx Wins, Seven Games

Edmonton hung four goals on Braden Holtby and the Washington Capitals en route to their sixth victory in seven games this season.  Alexander Ovechkin was able to score an early goal for the Capitals in the third period, but that's all Washington would be able to put up.  OIlers' second line did a fair bit of the heavy lifting as  BENOIT POULIOT scored two goals, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins had two helpers on Pouliot's goals, while Patrick Maroon and Milan Lucic each had a single bullet en route to this win.  Cam Talbot kept the good times rolling with 34 saves en route to their sixth win in seven games.

Oilers' incredible start will be put to the test as they visit the Canucks.  Can the Oilers' hottest season opening in 30 years continue?  Let's go to the tape.

The Oilers are saying

"It says a lot.  It says we don't deflate on the bench when a team scores...Even though we had the lead, sometimes, comparing last year, we could say 'here we go again'.  This year, it's different.  They scored and everyone started talking on the bench, everyone has positive vibes and we scored a minute later.  That's always a really good thing to see."

Source

That's Oilers forward Patrick Maroon on rebounding after an opposition goal was scored.

The Oilers didn't play a particularly great second period against the Capitals on Wednesday, and when Alex Ovechkin scored nine seconds into the third, I'll admit, you heard a little air pillow losing air at a rapid rate in the background.  Patrick Maroon scored shortly after Ovechkin, and it was a weird feeling, like when your brother shows up with a couple of two-fours after weekends of drinking off of your stash.  It felt good, man.

The opponents are saying

"I think Edmonton has been gained confidence.  The big thing for us is to whether that early burst.."  Source

That's Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller on Edmonton's early season successes.

Canucks started out similar to the Oilers, going 4-0 to begin the season.  They've since tailed off in their last three, going 0-2-1.

Have some of this

  • STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT: This is a game that the Oilers should absolutely crush.  "Now Jeff", I hear you saying, "what happened to all the cautious optimism?  The Oilers should crush a team after hitting the road?"  Well, have some of this:  The Canucks are matching the D pair of Alex Edler and Troy Stecher against the McDavid line.  This is Stecher's second career NHL game against one fo the best players in the NHL.  Now go get 'em.
  • VINDICATION FOR THE SECOND LINE: Score a couple of goals and everyone's tune changes about you, at least for a game or so.  I preached patience with the second line, and Benoit Pouliot scores a pair of goals on Wednesday while 93 has a pair of helpers against a damn good Capitals team.  It took a half dozen games, but the second line Is A Thing.
  • STRIKE WHILE THE IRON'S HOT, II: Pleaser recall about sixty words ago when I suggested the Oilers ought to exploit the defensive pairing of Alex Edler and Troy Stecher.  You might ask yourself, "self, exactly who is Troy Stecher, and why is he in the lineup instead of some other annoying Canuck defender that I'm slightly more familiar with?"  Good question, you.  Chris Tanev is on the IR with an ankle injury sustained earlier in the week.  That's a first pair of Edler-Stecher, and a second pair of Ben Hutton-Eric Gudbranson.  Titillating.
  • MCDAVID PLUS TWO: Two assists for Connor McDavid in Edmonton's 4-1 victory over the Capitals puts him at eleven points on the season (4-7-11).  McDavid leads the NHL in points, with Leafs rookie Auston Matthews trailing him by just one (6-4-10).
  • Cam Talbot (6-1-0, .927 SV% / 2.49 GAA, 1 SO) will likely start for the Oilers today. The Canucks will likely counter with Ryan Miller (1-2-0, .933 SV% / 1.97 GAA).
  • Iiro Pakarinen (knee), Drake Caggiula (hip), Mark Fayne (undisclosed) Brandon Davidson (upper body) and Matt Hendricks (lower body) will not dress for the Oilers tonight.  The Canucks will be without defenceman Chris Tanev (ankle), forwards Derek Dorsett (shoulder), Alexandre Burrows (neck) and Anton Rodin (knee)
  • #GOILERS