Edmonton Oilers (18-15-3) (5th, Pacific)
Vancouver Canucks (17-18-4) (6th, Pacfic)
7 PM MST
TV: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet East, Sportsnet Ontario, Sportsnet Pacific
Radio: 630 CHED
LOOKING FOR CLUES
The Oilers emerge from their holiday break on a three game slide. They’re clinging to the second wild card position, but that’s not going to continue with another loss tonight against a divisional opponent. The Oilers need to win games against the division and start to string some more wins together. Tonight’s a great night to start it off.
Let’s go to the tape.
The Oilers are saying
“Unfortunately for Jesse he was playing a hell of a hockey game, then that happens...He’s been a great participant for us getting better, same with (Jujhar Khaira), so we’ve found some people that can help us but we need more participants.”
That’s Oilers head coach Ken Hitchcock on a Jesse Puljujarvi giveaway that led to a Tampa Bay goal last Saturday night.
Fortunately for Jesse Puljujarvi, it wasn’t all doom and gloom. His forechecking led to Edmonton’s first goal on the night, which was scored by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Connor McDavid also had his 200th assist on the play. Will Hitchcock put Jesse Puljujarvi back on the top line tonight? (I mean, it’s going to be Alex Chiasson if he isn’t, right?)
The Canucks are saying
“It’s tough standing here when you lost the game, but I’m proud of how we played tonight...I like the way our team is progressing, and I like the way we’re playing. Do I wish we had a few more wins? I do, and we easily could. We’re still young and sometimes that shows.”
That’s Canucks head coach Travis Green after Vancouver’s 1-0 loss to the Jets on Saturday.
Allowing one goal to the high octane Jets? Sublime. Scoring zero? Less so.
HAVE SOME OF THIS
- DIVISIONAL GAMES: The Oilers can’t be coughing up divisional games to Vancouver like they did last Sunday in a 4-2 loss to the bloody Canucks. A regulation win for the Canucks vaults them over the Oilers into the final playoff spot for the time being. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
- 97’S NUMBERS: Oilers are about to play their 37th game of the season tonight. Connor McDavid currently trails Mikko Rantanen of the Colorado Avalanche in the scoring race by seven points (59 to 52). A solid night could see him cut that lead in half.
- ONE MORE GAME: Jujhar Khaira will serve the second of a two game suspension for an illegal cross check in last week’s game against St. Louis
- THE YIELD: Both the Oilers (3.08 GA) and the Canucks (3.15 GA) are allowing over three goals per game.
- NET GAINS: Expect Mikko Koskinen (11-5-1, .925 SV% / 2,34 GAA / 3 SO) to get the start tonight for the Oilers, while Jacob Markstrom (14-10-3, .908 SV% / 2.87 GAA) is likely to get the nod for Vancouver.
- SICK BAY: Andrej Sekera (ankle), Oscar Klefbom (finger), Jujhar Khaira (suspension) are out for the Oilers. Kris Russell (undisclosed) is day-to-day, and may return tonight to hopefully sit Jason Garrison down for a game. For the Canucks, Troy Stetcher (concussion) is day-to-day.
RNH-McDavid-Puljujarvi— Reid Wilkins (@ReidWilkins) December 27, 2018
Caggiula is not on the ice.
Khaira on the ice but suspended.