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GAME DAY PREVIEW- GAME 68: CANUCKS @ OILERS

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Coming off a very meaningful win, the Canucks have no time to relish a sweet win as they head to Edmonton. That won’t stop you from doing so, though...

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (28-30-9) vs Edmonton Oilers (29-30-7)

Where: Rogers Place, Edmonton, AB

When: 6:00 pm PST

Where to Watch: Sportsnet Pacific and Sportsnet West

SB Nation Opposition Blog: The Copper And Blue

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: In hindsight, we probably should have seen it coming. After all, this Leafs team has one win since Jan of 2006 in Vancouver, yet all signs pointed to another stomping of the home squad at the hands of a much better opponent. There were signs telling us all along not to worry, and we missed them. Hell, it was staring us right in the face.

They were never going to win this game.

Sure, they could very well go on to win the Cup this year. I mean, Boston could suffer a rash of injuries and drop out of what seems like a fated first round matchup. Or the league could suddenly change the playoff format. All kidding aside, this is a team that’s going to be a contender for a little while, and anytime you get to pull off a win like that, regardless of who you are, it’s a fun thing. Lord knows this fan base needed it. It doesn’t change the mess. It doesn’t give them any better hope of making the playoffs. But for one day, we could just forget about the tire fire and bask instead of the warmth of knowing all those who bought their resale tickets high above market value are at work today with a sore throat AND pissed about paying a lot of money to watch them lose again.

It’s good for them, really. A dose of humility and reality before the post-season will only help them, and when you look at the 3 Canucks who scored, all 3 goals were glorious that way. I mean, how does a team respond to an embarrassing goal like the Ron Hainsey shorty? Enter Loui Eriksson. Follow it up with a player you traded away in Josh Leivo. And the dagger? Alexander Edler in OT. The only way it could have been written better would be to have swapped out Chris Tanev for Edler. Either way it was fun, and that’s all that matters.

And speaking of back to reality, the Canucks head to Edmonton tonight to take on an Oilers team very much in the hunt still and looking to keep a 3 game winning streak alive. We should probably expect to see Thatcher Demko get the start tonight after Jacob Markstrom held the fort for a pretty satisfying win, one that moved him into a tie for 5th all time amongst Canuck goalies.

Another Canuck to watch tonight is Adam Gaudette. Gaudette set up both 3rd period goals and continues to evolve before our eyes with every passing game. He’s starting to look very much like the player the Canucks thought they were getting when they drafted him in the 5th round back in 2015. He’s done well to improve his two-way game and it seems like the offence is starting to come together. If he becomes a regular fixture on the Canucks it’s impressive enough, but if they can get a reliable point producer on their 3rd line out of a 5th round pick? Even better.

They’ll have their hands full with the Oilers tonight who have just one regulation loss in their last 8 games, and a lot of that is thanks to Leon Draisaitl. The German star is on a real tear right now and they’ve also been getting some production from Zack Kassian and Sam Gagner of late. The Canucks are 2-0-1 against Edmonton this year and can claim the season series with a win.

Via tsn.com here’s what the lineups should look like:

POSSIBLE CANUCKS LINE-UP

Pearson-Horvat-Goldobin

Leivo-Pettersson-Boeser

Roussel-Gaudette-Granlund

Eriksson-Beagle-Motte

Pouliot-Stecher

Edler-Biega

Sautner-Schenn

Demko

POSSIBLE OILERS LINE-UP

Draisaitl-McDavid-Kassian

Lucic-RNH-Chiasson

Rieder-Cave-Currie

Gagner-Brodziak-Rattie

Klefbom-Larsson

Nurse-Russell

Benning-Sekera

Koskinen

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN: Old school German thrashers EXUMER have a new one coming out April 5th on Metal Blade Records, here’s the title track from ‘Hostile Defiance’!