Vancouver at Edmonton: 7pm PT CBC
Edmonton may have all those Cups (not to mention a large contingent of smug fans reminding us of those Cups every other week!) but they’ve certainly had better days. Currently on a 4-game home losing streak and sitting in 11th place in the West, they’ve still got a slim chance of making the playoffs but it would require some stellar play and even more-stellar good luck.
That being said, they just might get what they want tonight.
With a Vancouver team undoubtedly reeling from recent tragedy in their midst, and the Oilers themselves desperate to end that home losing streak plus keep their playoff hopes alive, Edmonton is a fair bet to win their final game of the season versus the Canucks.
The season series is 3-2 in favor of Vancouver and there are plenty of tangibles and intangibles in Vancouver’s favor tonight—I’ve listed them all below, cropped from the NHL’s game notes. But it’s still anyone’s game.
I’d never bet against Vancouver these days, but I’d probably hold onto my wallet tonight. It’s a tough call.
- The Edmonton Oilers (36-33-9) host the Vancouver Canucks (42-25-10) tonight at Rexall Place in the fourth game of a six-game homestand.
- This is the sixth and final meeting of the season between the Oilers and Canucks. Edmonton trails the seasonal series vs Vancouver with a 2-3-0 record.
- The Oilers are 0-3-0 on the homestand following a 3-2 loss vs Minnesota (Mar. 29), a 5-3 loss vs Anaheim (Mar. 31) and a 2-1 loss vs San Jose (Apr. 2).
- Edmonton brings a season-high four-game home ice losing streak into tonight’s game as the Oilers are 0-4-0 at Rexall Place from Mar. 24-Apr. 2.
- The streak has seen the Oilers lose 3-2 vs Detroit (Mar. 24), 3-2 vs Minnesota (Mar. 29), 5-3 vs Anaheim (Mar. 31) and 2-1 vs San Jose (Apr. 2).
- Edmonton returns home following a two-game road trip that saw the Oilers compile a 1-1-0 record. The road trip opened with a 3-2 loss at Phoneix (Mar. 26) and concluded with a 5-3 win at Anaheim (Mar. 27).
- The win at Anaheim (Mar. 27) ended a three-game losing streak that saw the Oilers go 0-3-0 from Mar. 22-26.
- After playing only one home game (Mar. 24 vs Detroit) in a stretch of six games (Mar. 19-27), the Oilers now conclude their regular season schedule with six home games in their last seven games (Mar. 29-Apr. 10).
- The Oilers are 20-17-3 in 40 road games this season. The 20 wins are two more than last year’s total of 18 when the Oilers posted an 18-18-5 record away from Rexall Place and Edmonton is fifth in the NHL in road wins this season.
- The Oilers have earned a point in 10 of their last 17 games with a record of 6-7-4 from Feb. 28 to Apr. 2. The games that Edmonton failed to earn a point during that stretch were a 4-2 loss at Ottawa (Mar. 5), a 3-0 loss at Minnesota (Mar. 22), a 3-2 loss vs Detroit (Mar. 24), a 3-2 loss at Phoenix (Mar. 26), a 3-2 loss vs Minnesota (Mar. 29), a 5-3 loss vs Anaheim (Mar. 31) and a 2-1 loss vs San Jose (Apr. 2).
- The Oilers are 3-5-2 in their last 10 games (Feb. 24-Apr. 2) at Rexall Place and 4-5-2 in their last 11 road games (Feb. 17-Mar. 27).
- The Oilers have won 36 games this season, marking the 24th time they have won 30-or-more games since joining the NHL in 1979-80. Edmonton has won 30-or-more games for the last 13 seasons dating back to 1995-96.
- The Oilers are 17-15-6 in their last 38 games (Jan. 11-Apr. 2), 8-8-3 (Jan. 11-Apr. 2) in their last 19 home games and 9-7-3 in their last 19 road games (Jan. 13-Mar. 27).
40+ WINS FOR THE 9TH TIME
The Canucks recorded their 40th win of the season on Mar. 27th at Colorado and have now produced 40 or more wins nine times in franchise history. Currently at 42 wins, Vancouver’s best season on record was 2006-07 when the Canucks had 49 wins (49-26-7). With 42 wins and five games left on the 2008-09 schedule, the club ties its 6th best win total all-time.
BEST VERSUS THE NORTHWEST
Vancouver plays its best when facing Northwest opponents as evidenced by a 13-4-3 record versus division rivals this season. The Canucks record against the Northwest is their best versus any division. Including tonight Vancouver plays four inter-division games before the close of the season.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin have combined for a total of 37 points in the month of March. Daniel recorded 18 points (5-13-18), scoring in 13 of 15 games played. Henrik registered 19 points (7-12-19), having scored at least one point in 10 of the 15 games played in March. Both Daniel and Henrik have surpassed the previous club record for the most productive month in franchise history. Stan Smyl, Pavel Bure, Darcy Rota and Thomas Gradin previously held the record with 16 points each in a single month.
STAR OF THE MONTH
Henrik Sedin was named the second star of the month in March. Henrik led all Canucks skaters during the month of March with 19 points (7-12-19). Included in that total were three game-winners. He registered points (4-6-10) in five consecutive games to end the month and helped Vancouver take over the Northwest division lead with an 11-3-1 record in March. During the month of March, Henrik recorded six multi-point games including three 3-point outings. Sedin has set a single-season career high in goals (19) this season and is five points shy of his career-best point total of 81 set in 2006-07.
THE 30 CLUB
Roberto Luongo recorded his 30th win of the season with a 2-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild on March 31. He has recorded 30+ win seasons for the last three consecutive years. Only four other goaltenders in the League have active streaks of at least four consecutive 30+ win seasons. Marty Turco leads the way with six consecutive 30+ win seasons, followed by Mikka Kiprusoff (4 seasons), Henrik Lundqvist (4 seasons) and Ryan Miller (4 seasons) (through Apr. 2/09).
AT FULL POWER
Daniel and Henrik Sedin have dominated in the League when playing at even strength. Daniel ranks tied for 5th in the League with 56 even strength points. Henrik has recorded 53 even strength points to place tied for 9th in the League. Evgeni Malkin leads the League in even strength points with 68 (through Apr. 2/09).
NO ADVANTAGE NECESSARY
With 23 even strength goals, Alex Burrows ranks 10th in the League and Daniel Sedin, with 22, ranks tied for 13th in the League for most even strength goals. Alexander Ovechkin leads the way with 35. Burrows also ranks tied for sixth for scoring the most non-power play goals this season.
Vancouver’s 10th consecutive home win on Mar. 17/09 vs DAL set a new franchise record for the Canucks. The Canucks surpassed that record with 11 consecutive games at home from Feb. 3-Mar. 19/09, which was also tied for the second longest home winning streak in the League this year (through Apr. 2/09). The previous record was set in the 1992-93 season at nine straight wins. The Canucks have not had a regulation loss at home since Jan. 28th and are 11-0-2 in the last 13 games at General Motors Place.
OHLUND SETS FRANCHISE DEFENSIVE SCORING RECORD
Canucks career blueliner, Mattias Ohlund, broke the franchise scoring record by a defenceman, notching his 322nd point on Sunday, Mar. 15th versus Colorado. Playing in his 756th career game, Ohlund moves past Jyrki Lumme and now holds the most points by a Canucks d-man in club history.
MAKING A POINT
Mattias Ohlund is the second longest tenured blueliner in franchise history (behind Harold Snepsts, 781 GP). This season, when Ohlund records a point the Canucks are 15-4-1. In 765 career games played since his rookie debut in 1997, the Canucks are 176-53-34 all-time when Ohlund records a point.
BURROWS = IMPACT
Averaging 16:46 of ice time per game on Vancouver’s top line, Alex Burrows is making the most of his playing time. Burrows scored his 4th shorthanded goal versus the Avs on Mar. 15th, which leads the team and ranks tied for 4th in the NHL (through Apr. 2/09). The versatile forward has now scored 14 goals in his last 20 games. Vancouver’s record when Alex scores a goal this season is 16-7-2.
Prior to the 2008-09 season, Ryan Kesler had one career three point game. In the last two months, since Feb. 3rd, Kesler has recorded a trifecta of three point outings. The Canucks forward went 1-2-3 vs CAR on Feb. 3rd, 2-1-3 vs CHI on Feb. 7th and 0-3-3 vs COL on Mar. 15th.
Nine members of the 2008-09 Vancouver Canucks have set new career highs this season: Kevin Bieksa, Steve Bernier Alex Burrows, Alex Edler, Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond, Willie Mitchell, Henrik Sedin and Kyle Wellwood. The following is a list of each players current season point totals with new career high numbers in bold.
Ryan Kesler 25-31-56
Steve Bernier 15-17-32
Alex Burrows 27-22-49
Alex Edler 10-24-34
Kyle Wellwood 17-9-26
Willie Mitchell 3-19-22
Mason Raymond 10-12-22
Henrik Sedin 20-57-76
Kevin Bieksa 11-32-42
Like I said, hard to bet against Vancouver. As Nucks Misconduct notes, “Canucks can stick a fork in the Oilers’ playoff chances…”
...which sounds like fun way to spend Saturday night, so here’s hoping… :)