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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 27th (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (16-32-6) at Vancouver Canucks (27-17-9), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Coming off their first victory in over two weeks, the Edmonton Oilers will try to make it back-to-back wins on Monday night when they attempt to best the Vancouver Canucks for the first time this season.
The Oilers snapped a six-game slide with last night's 5-1 win over the Nashville Predators, with Ryan Smyth, Jordan Eberle, Justin Schultz and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins all logging a goal and an assist each.
Nail Yakupov also found the back of the net and Ben Scrivens made 34 saves to win his first game since being acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Kings.
Edmonton won for the first time since Jan. 10 as Eberle's goal with 12 seconds to go in the first period snapped a 1-1 tie and put the Oilers ahead for good.
"It was nice to get out to an early lead and I thought we carried momentum shift after shift in the first period," Smyth said. "We needed desperately a win to build some confidence."
It was a big night for Smyth, who logged his 125th power-play goal with the Oilers, tying him with Wayne Gretzky for second on the club's all-time list. He is just one back of Glenn Anderson's franchise record 126 goals in the man advantage.
"For Ryan, that was a special thing to see," said Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. "Hopefully, he can keep moving up the charts. Anything that has Mr. Gretzky's name on it and you can match it, it's a great, great accomplishment. We're really proud of Ryan."
The Oilers will try to win two straight for the first time since Dec. 23-27 and played last night without Andrew Ference due to a head injury, while forward Ales Hemsky sat out his fourth straight with a bruised ankle.
Edmonton, though, has been outscored 12-3 in losing all three of its previous meetings this season with Vancouver. That includes a recent 2-1 setback at home last Tuesday, with Eberle scoring and Scrivens making 25 saves.
Vancouver, which has won three straight and 13 of its last 16 at home versus Edmonton, played that game without head coach John Tortorella, who is serving a 15-day suspension for his actions in a game against Calgary on Jan. 18.
Henrik Sedin also sat out that game for the Canucks due to a rib injury, snapping his consecutive games played streak at 679, which is the sixth longest in NHL history.
Sedin has missed three in a row due to his injury, but the Canucks were still able to post a 5-4 overtime victory against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday. It was Vancouver's third victory in four games and it scored more than two goals for the first time in eight games despite Daniel Sedin going a 12th consecutive contest without a goal.
Kevin Bieksa scored twice, including the game-winner at 2:15 of overtime.
The Canucks failed to convert on a power play awarded when Phoenix defenseman Derek Morris was sent off for cross checking with 11 seconds left in regulation. Shortly after the advantage expired, Bieksa followed up a Brad Richardson shot from the left wing and popped the rebound under the crossbar and in for the winner.
"We found a way to win, but we have to do a better job of being consistent," Bieksa noted.
Chris Higgins posted a goal and two assists, while Zac Dalpe added a score and a helper for the Canucks. Jannik Hansen also lit the lamp and Roberto Luongo came up with 29 saves.
With 63 points, Vancouver sits seventh overall in the Western Conference and is one point back of the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division.
Luongo has been in net for all three wins over the Oilers this season, but backup Eddie Lack could get the start tonight and face Edmonton for the first time.
Jason Garrison has a goal and five points versus the Oilers this season, while Daniel Sedin has two goals and two assists in the three meetings.
Edmonton could start Ilya Bryzgalov tonight and he is 8-7-2 with a 2.58 goals against average in his career versus the Canucks.
01/27 19:54:27 ET
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