Vancouver Canucks foe, Stuart Skinner

Canucks Game Day 2; No Demko, Skinner Starts, Special Teams Flip

Bring on the rematch. The Edmonton Oilers will look to rebound in a big way against the Vancouver Canucks after getting spanked 8-1 on Wednesday night. Both teams will forget about it and focus on this next task.

“We moved past it yesterday,” Canucks head coach Rick Tocchet said Saturday morning. “It’s over for us.”

Canucks Game Facts

Tonight: Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers

Where: Rogers Place

When: 7 pm pacific

TV/Radio: Sportsnet, CBC, HNIC / AM-650

Key Factors:

Starting goalkeepers: Casey DeSmith for Vancouver, Stuart Skinner for Edmonton.

The absence of goalie Thatcher Demko is the big headline as the Canucks look to go 2-and-0 against one of the Pacific Division favourites. ‘Demmer’ is still moving past flu symptoms that forced him out of the first game eight minutes into the third period. He did work-out on the ice on Saturday.

Tocchet indicated that he had planned on using DeSmith in one of these early games anyway, based on an outstanding training camp.

Skinner, a finalist for the Calder Trophy last season for rookie-of-the-year, bumps Jack Campbell who started and lost the opener. Skinner actually played a majority of the first game, 32:30 in relief. Both Oilers goalies gave up four tallies.

Mattias Ekholm returns to the Oilers blueline, a huge boost for the home team. The big 33-year-old lefty improves the corps dramatically. Adam Erne might get a look up front for Edmonton.

Vancouver defenceman Carson Soucy remains out, but is on the trip, skated with the team, and is considered day-to-day.

The bottom-six forwards for Vancouver looked like this at the morning skate:

Dakota Joshua – Pius Suter – Anthony Beauvillier

Nils Höglander – Sam Lafferty – Jack Studnicka

Ilya Mikheyev was the extra forward.

The D line-up remains the same with Soucy seeing some rep’s.

Quinn Hughes – Filip Hronek

Ian Cole – Tyler Myers

Akito Hirose – Noah Juulsen

Special Teams

The Oilers power play last season was other worldly, setting a record with a 32.4% success rate, led by superstars Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl. The Canucks flipped the script during the first game while going 3-for-6 on the power play and holding the Oilers to 1-for-4.

Last season, the Canucks had the 11th best PP in the NHL at 22.7 and were dead last in the penalty kill at 71.6%. The personnel has changed and improved, and that’s without injured Teddy Blueger, expected to be a factor shorthanded.

The Oilers penalty kill last year was not good, 20th in the NHL at 77%.

Coming In:

Canucks: 1-and-0.

Oilers: 0-and-1.

The game falls on Canucks defenceman Quinn Hughes’s 24th birthday.

Other Offerings:

— Canucks NHL Friday; Injuries, And A Who’s Who Of Ex-‘Locals’

— Canucks Morning After; Demko’s Flu, Petey’s Charge, A Nat’ Hatty

Rob Simpson

Rob Simpson has covered the NHL in five different decades. He’s authored 4 books on hockey and is a veteran TV and radio play-by-play man and reporter.