Sunday, December 28, 2008

Canucks Oilers Recap & Senators Preview

On Boxing Day, the Canucks dug themselves too deep a hole against the Edmonton Oilers. Despite a very strong comeback in the third period, they weren't able to get the equalizer and wound up falling 3-2 at GM Place.

Mason Raymond and Kyle Wellwood had the Vancouver goals on a night which saw the home team surrender back-to-back 5-on-3 power play tallies by the Oilers in the second period.

Dwayne Roloson did his part to keep the Oilers in the lead and preserve the win, stopping 26 shots, including 13 in the final frame. Curtis Sanford could not be faulted in the loss as he made 20 saves.

The Canucks wound up going 1-for-5 on the power play while the Oilers went 2-for-5.

Tonight, the Canucks have a chance to get back to within a point of top spot of the Northwest Division as they prepare for their first of two meetings this season against the Ottawa Senators.

The Canucks (19-14-3) have seen their list of the walking wounded grow as Taylor Pyatt is sidelined indefinitely with a broken foot. Pavol Demitra, who's gone five straight games without a point, will play with Daniel and Henrik Sedin tonight while Jannik Hansen goes back on a line with Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler. Lawrence Nycholat, who came over in an off-season trade with Ottawa, will draw into the line-up and play on defence alongside Mattias Ohlund.

Vancouver is 4-3-1 against teams in the Eastern Conference this season, which includes 1-2-0 against clubs from the Northeast Division.

The Senators (9-6-3) have lost 11 straight on the road and are the lowest scoring team in the NHL, with just 80 goals for in 33 games. They also have the worst road record of any team in the league (3-10-2). The club did not take morning skate after falling 6-3 to the Calgary Flames last night.

Their list of the walking wounded has grown as well. Cody Blass injured his shoulder in a fight last night and he joins defencemen Filip Kuba and Anton Volchenkov on the injured list. Volchenkov though may play tonight. After former Canuck Alex Auld allowed five goals on 42 Calgary shots last night, Martin Gerber is expected to start tonight. Lifetime he is 1-2-1 against the Canucks with a 2.16 GAA.

Here are the expected line-ups for both teams tonight:


D. Sedin - H. Sedin - Demitra
Raymond - Wellwood - Bernier
Burrows - Kesler - Hansen
Hordichuk - Jaffray - Brown

Mitchell - Bieksa
O'Brien - Edler
Ohlund - Nycholat



Chris Kelly - Jason Spezza - Dany Heatley
Nick Foligno - Mike Fisher - Daniel Alfredsson
Jarkko Ruutu - Dean McAmmond - Chris Neil
Antoine Vermette - Ilya Zubov - Shean Donovan

Chris Phillips - Brian Lee
Brendan Bell - Jason Smith
Alexandre Picard - Christoph Schubert

Martin Gerber
Alex Auld

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