The last time the Oilers and Canucks met up, our boys blew a two-goal lead after Vancouver scored five consecutive times to finish off the night. Nearly a month out from that meeting, it’s time for a little payback.
Be sure to check out the latest Oilers game day odds from NHL odds site Betway
Is anyone else having a hard time wrapping their heads around what the hell is going on in Vancouver? On any given day, it seems like there’s some kind of weird nonsense coming out of there. Being an Oilers fan my whole life, I’m used to a certain level of absurdity — Gord knows we’ve seen enough shenanigans around here to fill 100 lifetimes — but this whole Bruce Boudreau coaching his last game before the new guy comes to town is a whole other level of bizarre. Add in the fact that they’re not quite shitty enough to get Bedard and are likely to trade half of their roster by the time the 2023-24 season rolls around, and Canucks fans are likely in for a rough go. The good news, of course, is that this whole scene is hilarious for the rest of us. Outside of feeling bad for Bruce because of how they’re disrespecting him at this stage in his impressive career, I couldn’t be happier about the way Vancouver is spiraling after spending years stealing our lunch money during the Sedin era and the Naslund/Bertuzzi era before that.
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As for what’s happening on the ice, there’s not a whole lot the Oilers need to do differently if they’re going to win this hockey game. If they can keep up the level of effort and commitment to defence that we’ve seen over the last five games, I see no reason that we should be celebrating a sixth straight win. The goaltending has been strong, our secondary scoring is starting to come around, and the Oilers are finally looking like the team we all hoped they would be. Unfortunately, this matchup against Vancouver is also another one of those nights where playing down to your competition can prove costly, something we’ve seen a time or two with this beloved hockey club of ours. And at 2-8-0 in their last 10 games, the Canucks are in shambles right now and I think I can speak for all of us when I say that the Oilers can’t be the team that helps them break out of this funk. I know we talk about flexing a killer instinct a lot, and if ever there was a chance to get another round of practice in then I couldn’t think of a better opportunity than tonight against a Canucks team that can’t get out of its own way.
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Let’s see what the numbers say.

THE NUMBERS

OILERS
CANUCKS
RECORD
26-8-3
18-24-3
WIN/LOSS STREAK
W5
L2
Last 10 Games
6-3-1
2-8-0
GOALS FOR
174
152
GOALS AGAINST
154
179
POWER PLAY%
30.6
23.9
PENALTY KILL%
74.6
66.4
AVG. SHOTS/FOR
32.9
30.6
AVG. SHOTS/AGAINST
32.1
32.2
TEAM SAVE%
.917
.901
CORSI FOR%
50.69
47.18
PDO
1.004
0.994
TEAM SHOOTING%
8.74
9.32
EXPECTED GOALS FOR%
51.56
45.81
Numbers courtesy of Natural Stat Trick (Sv%, CF%, PDO, Shooting%, xGF% all at 5×5)

GDB PRESENTED BY BETWAY

LINEUPS…

Oilers

Draisaitl – McDavid – Hyman
Kostin – RNH – Janmark
Kane – McLeod – Foegele
Holloway – Ryan
Nurse – Ceci
Kulak – Barrie
Broberg – Bouchard
Desharnais
Skinner
Outside of giving Stuart Skinner his first start since January 9th against LA, I’m curious to see what other changes Jay Woodcroft makes to a lineup that’s been rolling right now. We know that Janmark missed Thursday’s game against Tampa Bay because of an illness so will he draw back in? Will Jesse Puljujarvi play or will he be back in the press box?
****At the time of posting, I haven’t seen any line combos for the Oilers yet so what’s listed is a carry-over from Thursday’s game. I’ll be sure to jump back in and make the edits when news becomes available.****
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Canucks

Miller – Horvat – Garland
Mikheyev – Pettersson – Boeser
Kuzmenko – Dries – Studnicka
Joshua – Lazar – Lockwood
OEL – Myers
Hughes – Schenn
Dermott – Bear
Martin
I honestly think it’s shameful how the Canucks are treating Bruce Boudreau right now, given that this will likely be his last game as his replacement (Rick Tocchet) is apparently being named on Monday. Listen, I’m no Canucks fan and I actually think what’s happening there is pretty funny, but to treat a guy with a career like the one he’s had like this is so far over the line it’s laughable. If you’re going to replace him that’s fine, but at least fire him instead of this weird charade that’s been running over the last couple of weeks.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

For the past week, Rick Tocchet’s appointment as the next head coach of the Canucks has been all but confirmed, and an emotional Bruce Boudreau told reporters today that he’d be a fool to say he doesn’t know what’s going on. Boudreau abruptly ended his media availability when he was asked what it means for him to coach in the NHL.
Boudreau won over the fanbase in a hurry upon arriving in Vancouver, as he led the Canucks to a 32-15-10 finish to the regular season after a dismal 8-15-2 start prior to Boudreau’s arrival. Boudreau had the team playing at an over 100-point pace to close out last season, and the “Bruce there it is!” chant showed how grateful fans were for his efforts behind the Canucks’ bench.
Upon arriving in Vancouver, Boudreau helped Elias Pettersson regain his confidence and gave Pettersson the opportunity to become one of the Canucks’ best penalty killers.
However, this season has been a different story in terms of results, and Canucks management haven’t passed up on many opportunities to suggest that Boudreau and his systems are part of the problem with the team. Boudreau’s days are clearly numbered in Vancouver, and nobody likes the way it seems that the Bruce Boudreau saga in Vancouver is coming to a close.

TONIGHT…

Photoshop: Tom Kostiuk
Game Day Prediction: The Oilers extend their winning streak to six games with a big 4-2 win on the road.
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Obvious Game Day Prediction: Connor McDavid gets his 40th goal of the year in only his 48th game played. The heater he’s on right now is ridiculous and I hope he never ever walks away from the table.
Not-So-Obvious Game Day Prediction: Even Oilers fans feel sympathy for Bruce Boudreau after hearing what he’s going through, but that doesn’t prevent us from celebrating Vinny Desharnais’ first NHL goal.

BETTER LAIT THAN NEVER

What a difference a week can make, amirite? After a rough loss to LA a week ago, the Edmonton Oilers have rattled off five straight wins and are back in the mix for the division lead. I cover the turnaround, Evander Kane’s return, the #NationVacation, and more in the latest episode of BLTN. Subscribe to Better Lait Than Never for FREE on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogle Podcasts, and wherever else you get your podcasts from! 
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