The Oilers will host the Canucks for the 2017-18 season finale. It’ll be the Sedin twins’ final game of their NHL careers. Here are your game day notes.
1. Tonight will be the final NHL game for Henrik and Daniel Sedin. The two connected to score an overtime winner for the Canucks in their final game in Vancouver. It was an incredible moment and excellent ribbon on a phenomenal career. Henrik is first all-time in points by a Canuck with 1070 and Daniel is second with 1041. It’s difficult to view them as separate players so I’ll say the Sedins are the best player in Canucks franchise history. I think it’s more fitting than saying they’re No. 1 and No. 2.
2. The wheeling and dealing Brian Burke pulled at the 1999 to draft both Sedins second and third overall is still nothing short on incredible. The Sedins were top prospects heading into the drat and expressed a desire to play together in the NHL. Their agent Mike Barnett had two solutions: enter the draft and not sign with the club that drafted them for two years and become free agents or have one opt out of the draft and hope that the same team who drafted the first twin would draft the second the next year.
3. Burke already had the third overall pick in 1999 because the Canucks were terrible. He dealt the team’s first round pick in 2000 and defenceman Bryan McCabe to Chicago for the fourth overall pick. The morning of the draft, he dealt the fourth overall pick and two third round picks to Tampa Bay for the first overall pick, and then he flipped the first overall pick to Atlanta for the second overall pick as the Thrashers promised to select Patrik Stefan. This allowed the Canucks to have Henrik and Daniel Sedin on the stage at the same time.
4. The Sedins were very good against the Oilers for years. They were the driving force behind those dominant Canucks teams back in the early 2010s that routinely spanked the Oilers during the early Decade of Darkness years. Daniel has 84 points in 92 games and Henrik has 84 points in 95 games against Edmonton. Of course it’s split right down the middle like that. Of course it is.
5. It’s going to be strange watching the Canucks without either of the Sedin twins. They’ve been around since 2000-01 and they’ve been marquee players in the league since the post-lockout season in 2005-06. Even in the twilight of their careers the Sedins still put up 50 points each this season. Though it’s difficult for the Canucks to get much worse than they currently are, I think losing the Sedins is going to create a bigger hole in the lineup than most expect. Even though they’re shells of their former elite selves, they still attract a lot of focus from the other team’s top defenders. It’ll be Brock Boeser and Bo Horvat’s team in Vancouver now. The shoes to fill are big ones.
6. Anyways, that’s enough about the Sedins. It’s Edmonton’s final game of the season. I figured back in September we would be looking forward to this final game for a much, much different reason. It seemed inevitable the Oilers would be using this game against Vancouver as a springboard to the playoffs, but, instead, we’ll be watching others teams go to the big dance. This has definitely been the most disappointing season in franchise history, and even as bad as the years were from 2006-07 to 2015-16, I don’t think I’ve looked forward to a season ending as much as this one.
7. The bright spot has been Connor McDavid, obviously. He’s also the reason for optimism long-term and the reason why things around here will never be completely dark. McDavid has a whopping 106 points and 83 of them are at even strength. That’s tied with Henrik Sedin for most since 1995-96. Imagine what he would have done if the team had a functioning power play.
8. Another reason for optimism is the chemistry between Connor McDavid and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. While McDavid seems to make just about everyone better, it’s noticeable how Nugent-Hopkins brings his game to another level. McDavid and Leon Draisaitl were a wicked pairing for most of last season but I feel like McDavid and RNH are on a different level.
9. The Canucks have won two of the matchups between the teams so far this season. If the Canucks win tonight, it could be the first time since 2014-15 that Vancouver wins the season series between the two teams. The Canucks swept the series that year, winning all five games.
10. Finally, I feel it’s appropriate to acknowledge the tragedy suffered in the hockey community yesterday as the Humboldt Broncos team bus was involved in a collision that resulted in multiple fatalities. This is devastating, heartbreaking news, and there aren’t words to encapsulate the magnitude of this tragedy. I have the utmost faith that the hockey community will be able to come together and help raise the spirits and support those who were affected. Keep the victims in your thoughts and remember just how precious something as simple as enjoying a hockey game on a Saturday night is as multiple individuals had that tragically taken away from them.
Thinking of everyone involved with the Humboldt Broncos organization tonight. pic.twitter.com/GEvr8QMPQp— Oilersnation.com (@OilersNation) April 7, 2018
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