The Oil In Town
After getting into the Christmas spirit at the team’s annual Dice & Ice benefit the Vancouver Canucks are ready to get serious on the ice once again.
The Canucks take on the Oilers in the first of two back-to-back games tonight with the Boston Bruins waiting patiently for tomorrow’s highly-anticipated tilt.
With the Bruins around the corner and retribution on the minds of the Oilers tonight’s tilt will be a test for the Canucks after a few days away from the rink. Below are the five keys to tonight’s game.
Focus On The Present
After a rare three-day break the Canucks need to regain their focus with the young and talented Oilers in town. While the break allowed for the team to spread Christmas cheer they now face the tough task of back-to-back games at home against a pair of tough teams.
The Oilers have found their stride as of late and the ghosts of a Stanley Cup Final loom with the Boston Bruins waiting for tomorrow’s contest. John Tortorella needs to keep the team focused tonight.
Henrik and Daniel Sedin have been held scoreless over the last two games in a rare mini-slump for the talented duo. Look for the twins to bounce back and put some points on the board against an Oilers team that is allowing the 2nd-most goals-against per game in the NHL at 3.39.
Kassian In Crosshairs
Zack Kassian knows the Edmonton Oilers will be coming for him tonight in his first game against the team since sticking Sam Gagner in the pre-season, but if he’s worried about it he won’t show it.
“Obviously I’m not too worried about someone coming after me. I have no problem standing up for myself.”
Kassian has conceded he was reckless with his stick and vows to learn from the play, however tonight he may have to pay in the form of five minutes for the transgression in one final act of penance. Look for the Oilers to be finishing their checks early and often wherever Kassian can be found.
Luongo Leads Off
After Eddie Lack earned the shutout in his first home game as a Canuck there was speculation the backup could carry the ball tonight in the first of two back-to-back games, however tonight Roberto Luongo will lead off against the Oilers.
Whether Lack plays tomorrow remains to be seen, but it is clear that John Tortorella isn’t interested in messing around with his goaltending tandem with any grand schemes in terms of sit/start decisions.
Perron Paying Off
Off-season acquisition David Perron has been solid for the Oilers so far this season, putting up 27 points in 29 games including five goals and four assists over his last nine contests.
While the Oilers’ trio of first-overall picks get the bulk of the attention in Edmonton look for Perron to find his way on to to score sheet once again tonight.