The Oilers are in Vancouver tonight to take on the Canucks looking to get back in the win column following a narrow 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets last night. The game is the second in a back-to-back slate for the Oilers and fortunately it’s only the pre-season which means these games don’t count and there are plenty of players remaining so a fresh lineup is possible.
Last night’s lineup was a young and inexperienced one that nearly came back to beat the Jets. Tonight against the Canucks the Oilers are sending out a more veteran laced team led by the likes of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Andrew Ference. There are still a solid mix of rookies who are fighting for their lives and trying to make the roster, meaning it should be a spirited affair in Vancouver tonight. Then again, when these two teams meet it’s always an emotional game. The Canucks were voted as the biggest rival to the Oilers at the present time.
Courtesy of the Oilers official website, here are the lineups for tonight’s action which will be televised. Thank you Sportsnet West!
Oilers @ Canucks
TV: Sportsnet West, NHLN-US
Oilers Forward Lines:
Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle are reunited for the first time this pre-season and coach Dallas Eakins will hopefully give them more opportunities in the future to prove why they are so dominant together.
Ryan Smyth is being given every opportunity to prove he has enough left to contribute to the Oilers. This marks the second straight game that he’ll be flanking Hall on the top line and while it could be to help ease the transition for Hall to centre, it could also be the ultimate tryout for the veteran.
Like Smyth, Mark Arcobello is getting plenty of playing time to show he can play at the elite level. His size is a concern on an already small group of forwards but if he can prove his worth by using his speed, the Oilers may have to find a spot for him.
Tonight’s second line could also be a preview of the team’s third line this season with Gordon in the middle of Hemsky and Perron. Of course that would leave Yakupov, Gagner and either Smyth, Joensuu, Omark or a player to be determined later to fill the other wing.
Given it’s the Canucks that the Oilers face-off against, it’s not surprising to see some toughness at the bottom of the forwards lineup. Both Mike Brown and Ben Eager are projected to dress tonight which could help spark some fireworks on the ice. Set the tone boys and show those Canucks that we won’t be pushed around this year.
On the back end, it’s a nice combination of youth and veterans led by Andrew Ference and Justin Schultz. This could be the Oilers top defensive pairing this season and tonight could serve as a sneak peak of what’s to come.
Prospect Darnell Nurse is again in the lineup and going by the early reviews, he may be down to his last few games in an Oilers uniform. Of course this is based on chatter from other Oilers fans who feel he is nowhere close to being ready for a full-time gig with the big club and could use the seasoning of another year in junior. With the WHL season ready to kick off, returning Nurse to his junior club sooner rather than later would benefit everyone.