Canucks vs Oilers Game Day Report: McDavid and Goliath

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Image: Edmonton Oilers / Facebook

The preseason finale takes place tonight at Rogers Arena as the Vancouver Canucks take on the Edmonton Oilers for the second time in three days at Rogers Arena.

On Thursday night the Canucks and Oilers played a spirited game with Vancouver cruising to a relatively easy 5-2 win.

Game Time: 7:00 pm

TV: Sportsnet

It has been suggested that the Oilers should be the envy of Canucks fans given the organization’s penchant for “building excellence”. This building of excellence apparently comprises of trotting out an extremely porous defence with unproven goaltending while taking direction from a coach who could never win with a perennial cup contender.

To steal a line from Jonathan Toews, the Canucks “exposed them for who they are” on Thursday night. The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Canucks easily disposed of the Oilers 5-2 despite the Oilers dressing close to their opening day roster while the Canucks continued to experiment with young players. The line of Bo Horvat, Jake Virtanen, and Sven Baertschi racked up 10 points on the evening and have been the talk of the town ever since.

 

Storylines

1. Benning on the hot seat

Our own Rob The Hockey Guy played armchair GM yesterday and had the Canucks assigning Ben Hutton, Alex Biega, Brendan Gaunce, and Adam Cracknell to the Utica Comets. This seemed entirely likely until Jim Benning stepped into the conversation later in the day.

Benning is likely loathe to expose both Frank Corrado and Linden Vey on waivers. At this point the only thing that may change this scenario is a trade. Don’t be surprised if Alex Biega and Adam Cracknell are the last 2 cuts with Chris Higgins on the IR.

 

2. Gillis vindicated

Say what you want about Michael D. Gillis, but it is clear that his draft record is looking a little better than people thought.

The 2013 draft saw the Canucks take Bo Horvat 9th overall after trading Cory Schneider to the New Jersey Devils. The trade was controversial, and still is, but Horvat’s impact in the Canucks lineup cannot be understated.

In the 2012 NHL draft, the Gillis regime plucked Brendan Gaunce (1st round, 26th overall) and Ben Hutton (5th round, 147 overall) that made a strong case to make the opening night roster this year. Point is, Gillis didn’t exactly leave the cupboard’s bare for Benning and Co.

 

3. Markstrom impressing

Jacob Markstrom is posting up some strong numbers and oddly very few are talking about it.

Thankfully Ryan Biech has it covered.

Markstrom has been very good in preseason and it appears that, so far, he has silenced the critics over the summer that doubted if he could ever perform at the NHL level. The issue with Markstrom has always been more mental than physical.

It remains to be seen if Markstrom has indeed gotten himself over that psychological barrier that was holding him back from being an everyday NHL goaltender, but, if he has, the Canucks may have a potential difference maker in the net.

 

Lineup

Brandon Sutter will move to the wing to play with the Sedins tonight, while Jared McCann gets a pretty good assignment, playing with reliable wingers in Alex Burrows and Jannik Hansen. Ryan Miller is expected to play the full game in net.

Here is how the Canucks lined up at practice this morning.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Sutter
Baertschi Horvat Vrbata
Burrows McCann Hansen
Prust Cracknell Virtanen
              Edler Tanev
              Hamhuis Bartkowski
              Hutton Sbisa
Miller

 

Prediction

I can’t even remember when the Canucks last lost to the Oilers. That being said, anything can happen in preseason. Lightning strikes and the Oilers defeat the Canucks 3-2. I mean, if the Canucks are going to get beat by the Oilers, they might as well have it happen in the preseason. Right?

Bring on the regular season!

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Ian Lusher Canucks Contributor
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