Canucks-Oilers Preview

Flu_hemsky_final_mediumUPDATE (12:00 PM): Hat Tip to Missy for finding this so quickly: Darcy Hordichuk will be a healthy scratch tonight, with Tanner Glass taking his spot. Wise move, AV! I'm lovin' it. The rest of the lines will remain intact. Said Hordichuk of the scratch:

"It's (seven) games in and we're all horny to get fights. We're all horny to send a message.
"The team needs more help from the fourth line. We have to be more accountable. I thought last game, besides the penalties, we were."

More from Hordichuk here.

UPDATE (11:37 AM): The Oilers' IR list is big: Ales Hemsky is doubtful, Sheldon Sourray and Steve Staios both have concussions, Fernando Pisani has a bad back, and Marc Pouliot has a bad groin. Sourray's issues go deeper than a concussion. Or maybe that's what's causing it. 

UPDATE (11:31AM): Wellwood played his best game against the Wild on Saturday. He is saying that was the first time he felt energized since suffering from the flu. We should see continued improvement from Woodrow now.

Edit: I should mention that the Canucks are 0-3 on the road so far this season. It would be great if they can remedy that quick, especially since their next game will be in Chicago, and revenge must be served.

***************

Both positives and negatives are being taken from the Canucks' 2-1 win over Minnesota. The Canucks played a much-more defensive style and puck-possession game at a consistent level for once and one can hope that they have finally bought into that recipe. The pessimists would say that the Canucks managed only 2 goals against a hapless Wild team that is suffering from injuries to its major stars like Havlat and Bouchard. Well I say that game would have been at least 4-1 had it not been for Niklas Backstrom.

No, I'm not concerned or worried about the Canucks as they hit the road again to face the Oilers. Injuries be damned! This squad has the skills to get it done, and if the team can put out the same effort as they did against the Wild they should be in good shape. The Oilers have injury woes of their own now. Not only do they not have Sheldon Sourray in their lineup, it has also been reported that Ales Hemsky will miss Monday's game because he is suffering from the flu. That being said, the Oilers are getting their scoring from unlikely, but over-due guys like Dustin Penner (5-4-9) and Gilbert Brule finally (4-3-7). Mike Comrie has decent numbers as well (3-3-6). Hemsky had 1 goal and 5 points in 6 games so far.

Edmonton is sporting a 4-2-1 record under their new coach Pat Quinn but admit that they "just aren't there yet" with Quinn's system. Why? Because they are astronomically being outshot in most of their games so far and Nikolai Khabibulin is being a wall between the pipes.

-They were outshot 31-19 in their 5-2 win over the Wild.

-They were outshot 38-20 in their 4-3 loss to Chicago.

-They were outshot 41-20 in a 6-1 win over Nashville.

-They were outshot 35-19 in their 3-2 win over Montreal.

That was their last 4 games. The only time they have outshot their opponent was in their season-opening loss to Calgary. You get their drift. Much praise have been thrown Khabibulin's way and it is much-deserved. They know that they cannot be outshot that often and continue to win, however.

This brings me to my final point. Roberto Luongo is going to have to outshine The Bulin Wall. In my honest opinion, Luongo does not look sharp between the pipes yet. He did in preseason, but not since the puck dropped for the regular season. He just looks....off somehow. He was helped out in a big way against Minnesota as the team limited the quality shots against. I get this feeling that this may be one of the keys to the game once this is all said and done.

If I were Alain Vigneault, I wouldn't change the roster of lines for this game. Here's hoping Michael Grabner finally bags one!

-Here's a messed up stat: Kyle Wellwood has only 9 points in his last 48 games played. Thank you Mr. Wawryshyn.

Woody played better last game, but he's got to get on that damned scoresheet.

GAME TIME: 6:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet

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