Vancouver at Edmonton
When: 10:00 PM
ET, Saturday, April 27, 2013
Where: Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta
The Edmonton Oilers try to end their disappointing season on a positive note when they host the Vancouver Canucks on Saturday. The Oilers have split the last four meetings with the Northwest Division-winning Canucks and can snap a six-game home losing streak by winning the season series for the first time since 2005-06. The division rivals exchanged 4-0 home victories on March 30 in Edmonton and April 4 in Vancouver. That win over the Canucks was the Oilers’ last against a playoff-bound opponent, as they have stumbled to a 4-9-0 record in April.
Vancouver will finish third in the Western Conference regardless of Saturday’s outcome. The Canucks are 7-4-1 this month but just 2-3-1 on the road. Vancouver’s power play has converted in each of the last three games and five of the last six, going 9-for-37 in April. Edmonton has not scored with the man advantage in five contests and has tallied just once in its last 27 opportunities. Nikolai Khabibulin made 38 saves in a 6-1 rout of the Minnesota Wild on Friday for his first victory since March 26.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, CBC, RDS2
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (26-14-7): Roberto Luongo started Vancouver’s 3-1 loss to the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday and will start Saturday’s finale as Cory Schneider suffered an undisclosed injury in Monday’s 3-1 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Luongo has started three games this month, posting a 2-1-0 record with a 1.67 goals-against average and .954 save percentage. Captain Henrik Sedin has four points in the four previous games against Edmonton and leads the team with 14 in April. Ryan Kesler has eight points in nine games since returning from a foot injury, while defenseman Kevin Bieksa has missed five games with a lower-body injury.
ABOUT THE OILERS (18-22-7): Taylor Hall notched three goals and an assist in the four previous games against Vancouver and leads Edmonton with 14 points in April after recording a goal and two assists in Friday’s rout of Minnesota. With 48 points, Hall has eclipsed his rookie total of 42 and pulled within five of his career-high 53 set over 61 games last season. Rookie Nail Yakupov, who has three goals in his last two contests, has scored eight of his 14 career tallies in 13 games this month. Ales Hemsky and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will miss the final game with injuries.
1. The Oilers missed the playoffs for a seventh consecutive season and have not played a postseason game since losing Game 7 of the 2006 Stanley Cup Finals.
2. Luongo is 23-19-3 with one tie in 37 career starts against Edmonton.
3. The Canucks will face either the St. Louis Blues, Los Angeles Kings or San Jose Sharks in the opening round of the playoffs.
PREDICTION: Oilers 3, Canucks 1
Stats and Records