So it seems the Canucks, as anticipated, got shredded up a bit by a deeper San Jose squad in their opener last week. They get a chance at redemption tonight against Northwest rival Edmonton. Now, in years gone by, I would look favorably at an Oilers/Canucks because even if Vancouver lost it would be a fun game. This year it's a bit different as the Canucks are "retooling" while the Oilers are, well, "reloading". It could still be a good game though and here's why:
What to watch for #1: Secondary scoring. AGAIN. It's obvious this is going to dog Vancouver all year long. Guys like Morrison, Bulis, Kesler (and that is your second line tonight folks) & Cooke need to get cracking and support that top line. The Oilers won't have a similar problem with the likes of Sykora, Smyth, Hemsky (who is my favorite Oiler) and Horcoff buzzing around and I'm not even referencing guys like Torres, Pisani or Lupul. Getting Salo back will help Mitchell and Ohlund try and shut these guys down.
What to watch for #2: Goalie A'Reboundin. Luongo looked painfully human (close to Auld-esque) against the Sharks but we can blame the new pads he never used before the game. Or blame Al Qaeda and re-runs of Saved By The Bell on Saturday mornings. Did you know Screech is in a sex video? Seriously, someone tagged Screech. I wonder what he paid; honestly, the guy is a car wreck. Anyway, Luongo will need to get his game back against the Oilers since he'll see plenty of them this year and he'll likely be needed to steal a bunch of these games against Northwest opponents.
What to watch for #3: Home and home. If the Canucks implode tonight, look for Vigneault to kick a puppy and smack a school girl out of sheer anger at a third straight loss. If the Canucks take tonight, look for the Oilers to be pissed and come out swinging tomorrow night. The next six periods of Canucks hockey will be a great test to see if this team can become the cohesive unit Nonis envisioned when he dismantled the squad over the summer.
Who’s going to win? The Oilers tonight and Vancouver tomorrow. The Oil don't have a problem scoring and have a good winning streak going for them now. Granted they'll be a bit fatigued from Saturday night, but (and I don't know why) they will have more energy and vigor at the drop of the puck tonight. Assuming the Canucks keep it close, I see the Oilers winning 4-2. But, on the heels of that, Vancouver takes tomorrow's game by adopting some changes, staying out of the box, and frustrating them in the neutral zone. 3-1 Canucks on Tuesday.
Need something to get angry at? Keep in mind that if the Canucks drop both games to the Oilers, they'll likely be in last place in the division and it would propel the Oilers into a tie for first with the Wild who are currently one of two undefeated teams left in the league. Damn it all.