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GAME PREVIEW: Edmonton Oilers @ Vancouver Canucks

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Oilers in Vancouver for a big one tonight

NHL: Edmonton Oilers at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Edmonton Oilers (20-15-4) 3rd, Pacific vs

Vancouver Canucks (18-15-4) 5th, Pacific

23 December 2019

Rogers Arena

800 PM MST

TV: Sportsnet West

Radio: 630 CHED

SB Nation Opponent: Nucks Misconduct

MUCH NEEDED

The Edmonton Oilers picked up two much needed points against the Montréal Canadiens on Saturday night. I’ve got to be honest, I had my doubts after the loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday night. The Oilers held the Canadiens at bay with a performance that featured two (!) bottom six goals, one from Josh Archibald and another from Riley Sheahan. Leon Draisaitl scored early in the game, and Connor McDavid had another show-stopper en route to a 4-3 win over the Habs.

The Oilers are in Vancouver, and it’s another one of those “must win” games. Edmonton is sandwiched in between the Golden Knights (46 points, 2nd in the Pacific) and the Flames (43 points, 4th in the Pacific). The Canucks are three points behind the Flames, and it’d do the Oilers well to just dust the Canucks before Christmas. Can they make it happen?

Let’s go to the tape.

THE OILERS ARE SAYING

It was a huge win for us, we really needed it and it was great to see the home fans supporting us today really well. It was a great atmosphere in the rink and it was a big win for [the fans]

Source

That’s Oilers goaltender Mikko Koskinen on his club’s 4-3 win over the Canadiens on Saturday night.

Koskinen turned aside 23 shots en route for the win. The Oilers badly needed this one, they’re just 3-6-1 in their last 10.

THE CANUCKS ARE SAYING

Both teams were obviously playing smart hockey, maybe a little safe, but every game is different. They had a really good second period, definitely dictated the play a little more, and I thought in the third period we did exactly what we needed to do, played in their end.

Source

That’s Canucks forward J.T. Miller on his club’s 4-1 victory over Pittsburgh this past Saturday.

The Penguins were playing their second game in two nights, but the Canucks put up just 14 shots en route to their victory. The Canucks were 2/5 on the power play.

HAVE SOME OF THIS

  • You haven’t heard much about Tomas Jurco lately, and that’s largely in part because he was sent to Bakersfield a month ago. Jurco underwent hip surgery and is out for the foreseeable future. He had two assists in twelve games this season with Edmonton.
  • The Oilers got two (!) goals from bottom six forwards on Saturday when they received tallies from Riley Sheahan and Josh Archibald. Both goals were at even strength, which is a tall drink in a desert. The Oilers rank 18th overall in 5 on 5 goals.
  • The Canucks average 3.16 goals per game, which puts them at 11th overall in the league. They’re led by Elias Pettersson, who is averaging over a point per game so far (17-22-39). Pettersson is followed by Brock Boeser (13-22-35) and J.T. Miller (14-20-34). All three have been seen on a line together recently, and that’s the line to watch tonight.
  • Two more points for Connor McDavid (61), and two more for Leon Draisaitl (60). The 1 and 2 scoring leaders of the 2019-20 NHL season are just humming along like nothing. I’ve run out of superlatives for both of these guys, so let’s just say that they’ll be OK.
  • The Oilers ought to roll with Mikko Koskinen tonight (13-6-2, .918 SV% / 2.64 GAA / 1 SO. Expect the Canucks to counter with Jacob Markstrom (11-11-3, .916 GAA / 2.68 GAA) 1 SO)
  • The Oilers are without Matt Benning (head). For Vancouver, goaltender Thatcher Demko, defenceman Alexander Edler and forwards Micheal Ferland, Tyler Graovac, Josh Leivo, and Brandon Sutter are all day-to-day.