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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 27th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (26-14-7) at Edmonton Oilers (18-22-7), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will play one final tune-up before the playoffs, as the Northwest Division champions close the regular season Saturday in Edmonton.
The Canucks officially won their fifth straight Northwest title with Monday's home win over Chicago and Vancouver already was locked into the Western Conference's third spot before playing second-seeded Anaheim on Thursday.
With nothing on the line against the Ducks, the Canucks dropped a 3-1 decision in Thursday's home game. The game was scoreless after one period before Anaheim grabbed a 2-0 lead in the second stanza en route to the win.
Jason Garrison scored the only goal of the game for the Canucks in the third period before Anaheim's Andrew Cogliano sealed the win with an empty-netter. Roberto Luongo gave up two goals on 29 shots in the loss.
"It is my job to make the saves, unfortunately you can make one mistake and the game is kind of ruined," Luongo said.
Luongo will get the start again on Saturday, as No. 1 goaltender Cory Schneider sits out a second consecutive game due to an undisclosed injury. Vancouver is being very secretive about Schneider's injury and it's unclear if he'll be ready to go for the team's playoff opener.
Vancouver, which completed a three-game homestand on Thursday, has lost two straight on the road and is 11-8-4 as the visiting team this season.
Although the Oilers will miss the postseason for a seventh straight year, they were able to turn in an excellent effort in Friday's game at Minnesota. Corey Potter scored twice in a three-goal first period which sent Niklas Backstrom to the bench, and Edmonton wrecked the Wild's playoff-clinching party with a 6-1 rout at Xcel Energy Center.
Backstrom was pulled after giving up three goals on five shots in the first 18:38 of regulation, including one to Taylor Hall. Josh Harding fared little better in relief, allowing three more scores on 12 shots for the remainder of the contest.
Nail Yakupov also lit the lamp on two occasions for the Oilers, who played spoiler thanks to their second win in the last 11 games. Jordan Eberle added a goal and two assists to back a 38-save effort by Nikolai Khabibulin.
"He did a great job. It would have been nice to get him a shutout. He was unbelievable," said Oilers forward Sam Gagner of his goaltender.
Minnesota still has one chance to clinch a playoff spot when it visits Colorado in the regular-season finale on Saturday.
The Oilers and Canucks have split four games this season, but Vancouver still has won six of eight in the series overall. The clubs each have three wins over the last six encounters at Rexall Place.
04/27 11:08:36 ET