ENS Gameday Preview: Oilers @ Canucks
It’s hard to believe I’m typing this but… the Oilers are actually in a post-Christmas playoff race. Thanks largely in part to a great effort from Cam Talbot on Monday night against the goddamn Jets, the Oil cruised into Christmas break with a win under their belt. Tonight they are in Vancouver to hopefully start another streak. The next five games for Edmonton are hugely important. Playoff implications on a hundred million. Five games in a row against PAC-7 teams will let us know what the Oil are made of. If they can go 3-2 in this stretch I’m sure the team and most fans would be fine with that. Obviously a five game heater would be better but beggars can’t be choosers.
The Canucks limp into this game barely holding onto a playoff spot that they have absolutely no business having in the first place. Sweet 9 OT loser points, Vancouver. The Nucks are bad to begin with, but they will also be without Dan Hamhuis and Chris Tanev tonight which should be largely beneficial for the Oil.
Hall-Draisaitl-Purcell, Pouliot-RNH-Eberle, Hendricks-Letestu-Korpi, Gazdic-Lander-Pakarinen, Nurse-Sekera, Schultz-Fayne, Nikitin-Gryba
— Bob Stauffer (@Bob_Stauffer) December 26, 2015
Talbot starts at Vancouver. Has won two of last three with .946 Save pct.
— Jack Michaels (@EdmontonJack) December 26, 2015
No lineup changes for Todd the God tonight as he stays with the group that’s hot.
Cam Talbot back in the pipes and he is definitely beginning to find his form over his last few starts. Let’s hope he can keep that going.
What Needs to Happen
The Canucks stink. They stink so bad that their stink is starting to waft all the way in from the west coast. In fact, I’ll go out on a limb and say that by the end of the year they may be the worst team in the west. You read it here first. This is a game the Oil have to win.
Coming off the break with a back-to-back in Vancouver and Calgary is a tough pill to swallow but they need at least one win out of these two. Without Hamhuis and Tanev on defence for Vancouver tonight, Edmonton will need to get in hard on the forecheck. If they can limit the Canucks’ time and space in their own zone, they will need to force turnovers and take advantage of them.
Big Jacob Markstrom will be in the pipes for VAN tonight so the Oil will need to make life uneasy on him. If they get lots of shots and traffic to the net they should have plenty of chances.
What Can’t Happen
What is Going to Happen
Edmonton picks up right where they left off. Lil buddy Nuge always brings the heat against Vancouver and I expect that to keep going tonight. Him and Eberle each add a goal and a couple helpers as the Oil romp to a 5-2 win over the Nucks.