Preview: Oilers at Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks will look to even the season series with the visiting Edmonton Oilers on Monday as the Pacific Division rivals prepare to meet for the fourth and final time. With a 4-3 win over Montreal on Saturday, the Oilers earned just their second victory in eight games while Vancouver has compiled two straight wins after a 4-1 triumph Saturday over Pittsburgh.
The Canucks opened with a dominant first period Saturday as they won 20-of-25 faceoffs, held the Penguins without a shot - becoming the first team ever to hold Pittsburgh shotless in a period on the road - and finished the frame with a two-goal cushion thanks to power-play markers from Jake Virtanen and J.T. Miller. “First period was great,” Vancouver goaltender Jacob Markstrom told the media after making 28 saves in the final two periods - 19 in the second. “(Pittsburgh) came with the big pushback. We battled hard and came out in the third a little better and shut them down and got the win. That was huge.” Edmonton improved to 6-1-0 in games where both Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl find the back of the net as the pair combined for four points in Saturday’s win and became the sixth set of teammates in the last 30 years to hit the 60-point mark in fewer than 40 games. The Oilers rely heavily on the league’s top two scorers - McDavid has 61 points, Draisaitl 60 - as they haven’t won a game where both were held pointless since Nov. 28, 2017 and McDavid has been a part of 54-percent of his team’s goals this season (61-of-113) - the highest mark in the league.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, Sportsnet West (Edmonton), Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE OILERS (20-15-4): Edmonton’s role players helped out Saturday as Josh Archibald scored his second of the season and Riley Sheahan’s game-winning goal in the third period was his third of the campaign. “That’s how you win in this league,” Draisaitl told reporters after scoring his 22nd. “You need your top players to produce, but you need those guys to chip in once in a while too. Huge goals. They played well again tonight.” Goaltender Mikko Koskinen made 23 saves against the Canadiens and will carry a 2.64 goals against average and a .918 save percentage into Monday's start.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (18-15-4): Right wing Brock Boeser snapped a six-game home goal drought with his 13th of the season Saturday while Miller’s goal was his first in seven games. Elias Pettersson has five goals in his last six games after a second period marker against the Penguins and boasts 10 goals along with 10 assists in 18 home games this season. Virtanen has given Vancouver some much needed secondary scoring as the 23-year-old averages less than 13 minutes of ice time per game but provided three goals and five assists over his last nine contests.
1. Canucks D Tyler Myers notched a pair of assists Saturday to give the 11-year veteran 200 for his career.
2. Draisaitl has three goals and two assists in three games against Vancouver this season.
3. Canucks D Quinn Hughes is third in the league in rookie scoring with 26 points and leads all first-year players with 24 assists.
PREVIEW: Canucks 4, Oilers 2