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Game Day Preview #33: Dec 23/22- Canucks @ Edmonton

After a jaw-dropping performance from Elias Pettersson last night, the Canucks are off to balmy Edmonton to face the Oilers in their last game before the holiday break.

NHL: OCT 12 Canucks at Oilers Photo by Curtis Comeau/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

VANCOUVER CANUCKS (14-15-3) vs EDMONTON OILERS (18-14-2)

ROGERS PLACE, EDMONTON, AB

6:00 PM PST

TV: SPORTSNET RADIO: SN650

It was another nightmare of a defensive game for the Canucks last night against the Seattle Kraken. Fortunately, they were just as awful, and Elias Pettersson was back in a big way as he willed the team to a 6-5 shootout victory. Two goals, three assists and the shootout dagger as he proved to us yet again that he is the guy they need to build around, and you cannot help but notice the chemistry that he and Andrei Kuzmenko have developed. It’s a glimmer of hope in the sea of despair that is the Canucks right now.

And so we go to tonight’s game, where the Canucks return to the place where this season got off to an inauspicious start. The Edmonton Oilers beat them 5-3 on that night, and started a string of seven winless games to start the season that was snapped when they played... the Seattle Kraken. And again last night, the Kraken helped the Canucks bump a slump. Smaller, but no less brutal, as they had come off of back to back 5-1 losses on home ice.

As far as tonight goes, I wouldn’t expect much, especially if they decide to play Spencer Martin. Honestly, he seems like a super nice guy, and as a backup, you can’t ask for more, but this kind of goaltending isn’t something the Canucks can overcome, even if they get a ton of Elias Pettersson nights like we saw Thursday against Seattle. It’s not all Martin’s fault, but he’s letting in a metric fuckton of goals, and it needs to stop if they want to keep treading water waiting for Thatcher Demko to get healthy.

The Oilers have struggled at home this season, going 9-8-1 so far. It’s not Canucks bad, but there were many who had them comfortably in a playoff spot and not battling for a wild card slot at this point. It seems as though it’s the same old issue in Edmonton. They have two of the best players in the world. and they can win games at will for them. What they lack is consistent goaltending, support from their bottom six, and competent defence.

LINEUPS

I found this lineup in a snowbank on my way home from work today. Or maybe nhl.com...

Canucks projected lineup

Ilya MikheyevBo HorvatConor Garland

Dakota JoshuaJ.T. MillerBrock Boeser

Andrei KuzmenkoElias PetterssonLane Pederson

Sheldon DriesNils AmanCurtis Lazar

Quinn HughesTyler Myers

Oliver Ekman-LarssonLuke Schenn

Riley StillmanKyle Burroughs

Collin Delia

Spencer Martin

Scratched: Ethan Bear, Jack Studnicka

Injured: Thatcher Demko (lower body), Tanner Pearson (hand), Tucker Poolman (undisclosed)

Oilers projected lineup

Zach HymanConnor McDavidJesse Puljujarvi

Warren FoegeleLeon DraisaitlKailer Yamamoto

Mattias JanmarkRyan Nugent-HopkinsKlim Kostin

Dylan HollowayRyan McLeodDerek Ryan

Darnell NurseCody Ceci

Brett KulakTyson Barrie

Markus NiemelainenEvan Bouchard

Stuart Skinner

Jack Campbell

Scratched: Ryan Murray, Devin Shore

Injured: Evander Kane (wrist), Philip Broberg (undisclosed)

So it looks like we’ll see Bruce Boudreau come to his senses and give Collin Delia a shot in goal tonight, and let’s face it, they might as well. Maybe he’ll surprise us all and pull off a big win tonight. It doesn’t look like there’s any other changes, though with the way the pairing of Riley Stillman and Kyle Burroughs played last night, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ethan Bear back in to face the team he broke into the NHL with.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

TROOPS OF DOOM hail from Belo Horizonte, Brazil and if you’re thinking “Hey, that’s where SEPULTURA is from”, you’d be correct. And the band is led by Jairo Guedz, who was the guitarist on SEPULTURA’s debut, so you can figure out the name. They’re definitely a little more death metal than thrash, but have that old school Sepul-vibe that will resonate with fans. They’ve released three albums since debuting in 2020, and this is from their most recent entitled ‘Antichrist Reborn’. Consider it my holiday gift to you all.

I hope you all enjoy the game tonight, and wherever you are you’re safe, warm and surrounded by friends and loved ones. Enjoy the game and Go Canucks Go!