Game #4 - Vancouver vs Edmonton
After Wednesday’s wee little “blip” on the path to the Stanley Cup, erasing dark memories and moving forward is the order of the day. And frankly, the Canucks don’t even have to win this matchup in order to come out ahead; simply participating in the game would be a stark improvement.
So, who better to start with than Edmonton?
The Canucks dropped two of their first three meetings with the Oilers last season before ripping off five straight wins to close the season series. Three of those victories came in Edmonton, where Vancouver has won 10 of the last 15 matchups.
Well, that’s a cheerful basis on which to face a game day.
History is a good thing to have on Vancouver’s side. After all, it was history—specifically, 18 YEARS of incompetence against Philadelphia at home—that continued its fateful journey of turning the Canucks into low-rent ice dancers the other night. So on the flip side of the coin, history might suggest the team can at least maintain a real hockey game with a team they’re on a 5-game winning streak against.
(And yeah, I’m sorta choosing to ignore the fact that pretty much every team in the NHL has a recent winning streak against the Oil stemming from their self-inflicted death spiral last season… But selectively using the facts to supplement optimism is the only way to go here.)
Besides, there are statistically-sound reasons for the optimism as well.
Vancouver’s powerplay numbers are looking rather pretty at the moment: 6-for-21, 2nd in the NHL. I suppose that could change in a hurry—and probably will at some point—but maybe not tonight. And furthermore, Edmonton themselves lay claim to serious powerplay outtage so far this season: 0-for-16. (The Sheldon Souray Factor hasn’t kicked in yet, I guess.)
Both teams are coming off losses, so maybe angry young men will be dressed for both teams tonight; but I’m still betting the odds tilt in Vancouver’s favor. While Vancouver was ripped to shreds like Christians being tossed into a lion’s den, the Oilers’ immediate motivation sounds a little less traumatic.
From Covered in Oil:
Well, it was one of those wild Minnesota games where you kind of pass out from boredom, wake up with a crushed puckhat, some empty beer bottles and a hard luck story.
Sounds like Edmonton just went out on a crappy date Wednesday night. Vancouver, on the other hand, got tied up, mugged and left for dead. I think their immediate grumpiness might factor a bit higher. We’ll just have to see if it will help them much, but it certainly can’t hurt. As Mike commented on a post of mine yesterday:
If this team doesn’t come out against Edmonton like a bat out of hell with f’ing fury in their eyes, Vigneault’s head will explode.
Not to mention my head—hence the bottle. (Hey, I know a good idea when I see it. I plan on following Isabella’s example throughout these two games.)
Anyway, there really is no way to play a worse game than the one against Philly, right?
Sweet Christ, I hope not. I never again want to witness anything more sordid than that effort.