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Back To The Back To The Beat Y'all: Canucks-Oilers Preview

Oilers (10-12-4) vs Canucks (13-11-0)

Game Time: 7:00 PST

TV: CBC Hockey Night in Canada

The Enemy: The Copper and Blue. Also known as The Black and Blue. Lowetide.

"There is no way we should have lost this hockey game," Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. "We did some really good things but what has been our problem here from day one is we don't cover well against our net. We have a group that stares at the puck and doesn't recognize danger."

That is what Oilers coach Pat Quinn said after his teams' 5-4 shootout loss to the Sharks last night. Yeah, that's right, last night. The Canucks are once again playing a team who played a game the previous night. This is like winning some form of lottery isn't it?

The Oilers received some treacherous news on Friday when they learned that they have lost Ales Hemsky for the remainder of the season due to shoulder surgery. He had 7 goals and 22 points in 22 games at this point. Maybe Pavol Demitra will have a new swimming partner? The Oilers are in trouble. They had a 7-6-1 record in October, but now a 3-6-3 record in November. They are quickly heading for the Western Conference basement.

They now begin a 6-game road trip, starting in Vancouver, where the Canucks are 9-3-0 this season. Edmonton is 2-7-2 away from Rexall Place. Cause for concern for Oilers fans no doubt.

Let's look at some of the 2 teams' team stats.

PowerPlay: Oilers 14th in the NHL, Canucks 8th.

Penalty Killing: Oilers 15th, Canucks 22nd.

Goals Per Game: Oilers 14th, Canucks 15th. Actually, the teams are tied.

Goals Against Per Game: Oilers 25th, Canucks 8th best.

Shots Per Game: Oilers 28th, Canucks 11th.

Shots Against Per Game: Oilers 25th, Canucks 7th best.

The Canucks hardly have much bragging rights over Edmonton this year so far. They have played each other twice this season with both teams winning. The Oilers won 2-1on October 19, and the Canucks won 2-0 on October 25. The Canucks sit in 10th spot in the West, 3 points behind 8th place Phoenix. They have to continue their winning ways.

You have to like the Canucks' chances tonight. The Kings looked a bit sluggish last game after playing 2 nights in a row. The same could happen to Edmonton as the game wears on. If Roberto Luongo continues the stellar play that we saw against L.A. the Coilers are in trouble. After this game, the Oilers will get a 5-day rest between games. Sound familiar? I would then assume that the starting goalies would be as follows, as Nikolai Khabibulin remains sidelined with back ailments:

Roberto Luongo

#1 / Goalie / Vancouver Canucks

GP: 18
Wins: 9
Losses: 8
GAA: 2.45 and dropping
Save Percentage: .912 and rising
Last 5 Games: 3-2-0


Jeff Deslauriers

#38 / Goalie / Edmonton Oilers

GP: 8
Wins: 3
Losses: 3
OTL: 2
GAA: 2.58
Save Percentage: .914
Last 5 Games: 2-2-1

Any other slumping Canucks want to get it going? Let's see if Kyle Wellwood really did get that monkey off his back, or if another one will take it's place.

Word is that Mathieu Schneider will be the guest on After Hours after the game. Send him some questions! Like:

-How do you get your teeth to be THAT white?

-How many times per day do you shave?

-Does any Canuck call you dad?

Don't forget the game score predictions. You guys have some catching up to do! Yours truly guessed the right score, winning team and winning goal scorer last game. I gotta than the Captain for that one.