Saturday, October 25, 2008

Canucks Back At Home To Face Oilers

For the first time since opening night, the Vancouver Canucks are set to play at General Motors Place as tonight they renew their Northwest Division rivalry with the Edmonton Oilers.

The Canucks (3-4) have not been in game action since last Tuesday when they wrapped up a six-game road trip in Columbus, Ohio. That night, the Canucks fell 4-2 to the hometown Blue Jackets to conclude their trip at 2-4-0.

Special teams has been the focus the past few days of practice for the Canucks. Vancouver is 29th in the NHL on the power play (3-for-33) while sitting 26th on the penalty kill (9-in-36). And while they can't practice it on off days, their start will be a major focus point tonight. Vancouver is 0-3-0 this season when the opposition scores first.

The only notable changes to Vancouver's line-up compared to the Columbus game will see the return of Darcy Hordichuk up front and the edition of Rob Davison on defence. Both players will bring a much-needed physical presence to the home club against an Edmonton squad that's never afraid to rough it up when playing in Vancouver.

The Oilers (4-2-0) are tinkering with their line-up after dropping their last two straight games. After falling 4-1 to the Avalanche in Colorado on Thursday, Oilers bench boss Craig MacTavish has split up his top two lines. The line of Shawn Horcoff centering Ales Hemsky and Erik Cole won't play together against Vancouver. Horcoff, who had the Oilers lone goal against the Hawks, will be between Hemsky and Robert Nilsson while Cole will play along-side Marc Pouliot and Ethan Moreau. Despite being a club that got off to a 4-0-0 start, the Oilers are the second lowest scoring team in the NHL.

Here are the expected line-ups to start tonight's game at GM Place.

D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Bernier
Raymond - Wellwood - Pyatt
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Johnson - Krog

Mitchell - Bieksa
Ohlund - Edler
O'Brien - Davison


Scratches: Salo, Rypien, Demitra, Brown, Nycholat


Robert Nilsson - Shawn Horcoff - Ales Hemsky
Dustin Penner - Andrew Cogliano - Sam Gagner
Ethan Moreau - Marc Pouliot - Erik Cole
Steve MacIntyre - Kyle Brodziak - Zach Stortini

Denis Grebeshkov - Steve Staios
Jason Strudwick - Sheldon Souray
Lubomir Visnovsky - Tom Gilbert

Mathieu Garon
Dwayne Roloson

Scratches: Ladislav Smid, Fernando Pisani, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers

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