Preview: Oilers at Canucks
On the first night of a home-and-home against the Edmonton Oilers, the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday earned a much needed 5-2 victory to finish off their season-high six-game road trip. The scene will shift to Vancouver on Sunday as the Canucks look for back-to-back wins against the Pacific Division-leading Oilers.
The Canucks were in desperate need of a bounce back performance Saturday after giving up a three-goal third-period lead to Pittsburgh on Wednesday during an 8-6 setback. “Last game we weren’t happy with the result,” Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom told reporters after making 28 saves against the Oilers. “(Saturday) was our best 60-minute effort and for it to be at the end of the road trip is good. Everyone chipped in and that’s what needs to happen for us to be successful.” The Canucks became the first team this season to hold Edmonton forward Leon Draisaitl pointless on home ice and this marked the fifth time in 28 games this season that the 24-year-old failed to register a point. Oilers captain Connor McDavid notched his 18th goal and 31st assist Saturday - passing Draisaitl (16 goals, 32 assists) for the NHL lead in points.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Edmonton), Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE OILERS (16-9-3): McDavid finished November with 13 goals and 13 assists in 14 games, good the most points this month in the NHL - one point ahead of Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon. “We had a couple minute push there where we could have made it 3-2,” McDavid told reporters after his team conceded the final three goals to the Canucks on Saturday. “One little mistake, it’s in the back of the net and they’re up 3-2 instead.” Goaltender Mike Smith (7-7-1) made 33 saves Saturday and is expected to concede the crease to Mikko Koskinen (9-2-2) for Sunday’s contest.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (13-10-4): Tanner Pearson notched two goals and two assists Saturday, including the game-winning goal off a pass from captain Bo Horvat for one of his three assists. Forward Loui Eriksson scored his first goal of the season in the second period Saturday, snapping a 16-game pointless drought that dated back to last season. With an assist on Pearson’s short-handed goal in the first period, forward J.T. Miller extended his personal point streak to five games (four goals, three assists) and has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in his last 19 games.
1. Pearson’s short-handed goal was the fifth surrendered by Edmonton this season – the most in the NHL.
2. Edmonton C Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (five goals, 11 assists) missed his third consecutive game Saturday after undergoing a procedure on his injured hand. He will not play Sunday.
3. Vancouver D Alex Edler (four goals, 11 assists) is doubtful for Sunday’s game after leaving Saturday’s contest with an upper-body injury.
PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Oilers 2