Vancouver Canucks (18-21-6) (7th, Pacific) @
Edmonton Oilers (20-23-3) (6th, Pacific)
8 PM MDT
TV: CBC, Sportsnet
Radio: 630 CHED
The Oilers entered their league mandated bye week on a two game winning streak. That’s good, they’ll need to win about 25 more of those if they’d like to have a fleeting chance at the playoffs. They’ll have to do it without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins for the next five or six weeks. Nugent-Hopkins took a big hit from Vegas defenceman Bryaden McNabb during the second period and didn’t see any ice afterwards. Initial worries were that Nugent-Hopkins may have suffered whiplash or a concussion, but it was determined that he just had some ‘bruising’. ‘Bruising’ turned into a ‘bruised sternum’, which turned a day later into ‘cracked ribs’. The Oilers have called up Iiro Pakarinen in the meantime.
Can the Oilers take two points from their divisional rivals?
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“Obviously we have a lot of guys that can make plays, so I’ll just try to get the puck in their hands and get some shots through when I get an opportunity,”
That’s Oilers defenceman Darnell Nurse. Nurse was on the team’s top power play line yesterday in practice. Nurse is on a heater with four goals in four games, including a nifty OT winner in Vegas last Saturday leading up to the break.
The Canucks are saying
““I’m pretty much 100% and taking it day-by-day now”
That’s Vancouver forward Bo Horvat on his fractured ankle, which he says is pretty much 100% right now. Horvat won’t skate in tonight’s game, but there’s a chance he goes tomorrow in Winnipeg.
The Canucks are coming off their bye week as well, which no doubt helped Horvat in his recovery.
Have some of this
- The loss of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is no doubt a significant blow to the offence of the Edmonton Oilers. Nuge’s 31 points were good for third on the team behind only Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl, and that’s without any time with 97. Hey, that projects out to a season total of about 55 points, which gets you about one Ryan Strome in a trade these days. Speaking of Ryan Strome, he’s in on the first power play unit along with Darnell Nurse, Draisaitl and Connor McDavid. Make it happen out there.
- A SHORT SHEET ON VANCOUVER: It’s been a woefully unimpressive season for the Edmonton Oilers, and the Canucks have one less point than the woefully unimpressive season that the Oilers have. Not surprisingly, their season looks a lot like Edmonton’s. 26th overall in goals scored, they’re allowing over 3 goals a game (3.2 if you’re keeping score). Jacob Markstrom (.909SV%) and Anders Nilsson (.901SV%) haven’t moved the meter. Sound familiar?
- 20 year old Brock Boeser is killin’ it out there for the Canucks this year. Halfway through his season, he’s got 40 points (22-18-40 in 42 GP). His 18.2 shooting percentage is high, but there’s a good chance he can squeeze a 70 point season out of this season.
- Cam Talbot got back into the win column in Vegas (16-16-2, .902 SV% / 3.11 GAA / 1 SO), look for him between the pipes tonight for the Oilers. A coin flip as to who starts for Vancouver, it could be former Oilers netminder Anders Nilsson (6-7-1, .901 SV%, 3.57 GAA / 2 SO) or Jacob Markstrom (12-14-5, .909 SV% / 2.72 GAA / 1 SO). The Canucks are in Winnipeg tomorrow, so it’s a fair bet that whomever starts tonight will get the night off tomorrow.
- SICK BAY: The Vancouver Canucks will be without Bo Horvat (ankle) tonight, as well as Derek Dorsett (back) and Daniel Sedin (back). Edmonton is without Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (ribs)