NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Friday, December 13th (All times Eastern)
Edmonton Oilers (11-19-3) at Vancouver Canucks (18-10-5), 9 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks aim to stay perfect on their current homestand and extend their longest winning streak of the season on Friday night as they play host to the Edmonton Oilers.
The Canucks have taken the first three contests of their five-game residency that wraps on Saturday versus Boston. That success at home has pushed Vancouver's overall winning streak to five in a row, the longest for the club since it took six straight from March 19-28 of last season.
The Canucks got solid goaltending in winning games on back-to-back nights earlier this week. Roberto Luongo posted 28 saves in Sunday's 3-1 victory over Colorado and backup Eddie Lack followed up with a 31-save shutout the following night to best Carolina 2-0.
Lack, a 25-year-old rookie, was making his first career start at home and improved to 4-2-0 with a 2.08 goals against average in eight games (6 starts) following his first NHL shutout.
"I was real excited going into tonight's game, playing my first home game and everything. Just tried to do whatever I could to make the team come out with a 'W' here," said Lack. "The guys did an unbelievable job."
Christopher Tanev scored 3:35 into the game, but the Canucks didn't find the back of the net again until Jannik Hansen's empty-net tally with 1:14 to play.
The tight score, though, didn't get to Lack and left coach John Tortorella praising his composure.
"The thing I like most about Eddie is just his presence. I think he settles the team down," Tortorella said. "There's not a lot of extra movement in his game. He moves the puck really well. ... He doesn't get rattled."
Despite the shutout, Tortorella is expected to go back to Luongo tonight. Vancouver's No. 1 netminder is 24-11-3 with a tie, three shutouts and a 2.37 GAA in 40 career meetings with the Oilers, all but one of those starts.
Luongo made 21 saves in a 6-2 home victory over Edmonton on Oct. 5 in the first of five meetings this season between the Pacific Division residents.
The victory was the Canucks' eighth in the past 12 meetings overall and 10th in the last 12 encounters in Vancouver.
The Oilers kick off a four-game road trip tonight after falling 4-2 to the Boston Bruins on Thursday. The defeat gave Edmonton a 2-2-1 mark on a five- game homestand.
It was a rough night for Devan Dubnyk, who gave up the first of three first- period goals to the Bruins on a long shot from the blue line.
Dubnyk stopped 15 shots in the frame, but was replaced by Jason LaBarera to start the second and he halted all 12 shots faced in relief.
"I don't know if we won a battle in the first period," Oilers coach Dallas Eakins said. "I don't know if we were, 'Jeez, the Bruins are in town. They're one of the top teams in the League. We need to play cautious.' You can't play cautious against anybody. You'll get killed if you give them too much time and space.
"But even though we weren't winning the battles, I didn't think the first period was as bad as the shot clock showed or the score was. I still felt we had a chance if we could get a goal."
David Perron got the Oilers back into the game with two goals in the second period, but Edmonton's offense was silenced from there and Boston iced the game with an empty-net tally.
Perron now has 14 goals and 27 points on the season, getting six goals and nine points in his past seven games.
It is unknown if Eakins will go back to Dubnyk tonight or give LaBarbera his first start since Oct. 26.
Dubnyk is 5-5-3 with a 2.48 GAA and two shutouts in 14 games (12 starts) versus Vancouver, but was lifted early in the loss on Oct. 5 after allowing five goals on 31 shots faced in just under 34 minutes of work.
Like he did last night, LaBarbera stopped all 12 shots faced in relief and is 4-2-1 with a 2.14 GAA in nine games against Vancouver with six starts.
12/13 10:50:25 ET