With the news coming that Ryan Nugent-Hopkins will return to the Oilers lineup on Monday, one has to think that this will be the last game for Ryan Smyth on the top line. Then again, Mark Arcobello would likely have started the season in the AHL had Sam Gagner and Nugent-Hopkins both been healthy. Eakins could leave the Hall-Hemsky-Smyth line in tact after tonight, providing Smyth has a stronger game than the one on Tuesday.
Jesse Joensuu is getting plenty of attention after a fine first game as an Oiler. As a result he and Boyd Gordon will be accompanied by Jordan Eberle, a line that has a bit of everything; grit, finesse and defensive abilities. This could be a line to watch if Joensuu can continue to create room for his linemates, something that makes Eberle even more dangerous.
The third line features an intriguing combination of Yakupov and Perron. Both have the ability to find the holes with Perron potentially setting up Yakupov for the big shot. Throw in Arcobello’s speed and this line could wreak havoc on the Canucks defence.
As mentioned, Zack Kassian will be still be serving his suspension Saturday and won’t face the Oilers until December 13th, the next time the two teams will hook up.
Alex Burrows is questionable for the game with an undisclosed injury that he suffered in the Canucks season opening loss on Thursday. The pesky forward is one of the most hated players in the game and it’s no different with Oilers fans.
The Sedin twins are the subject of contract extensions yet again in Vancouver. With their current contracts expiring after this season, it’ll be interesting to see if the Canucks anti up the money to keep them with their organization. Currently at 33-years of age, they’ll certainly be looking for a raise from their annual salary of $6.1 million along with a length, multi-year deal.
Roberto Luongo took the loss in Thursday’s 4-1 defeat to the Sharks but he did make 31 saves in a losing effort. All eyes are on Bobby Lou this season after officially becoming the number one guy when Corey Schneider was traded to the New Jersey Devils. The Oilers have been able to get to Luongo over the last couple of years and sneaking a couple early ones tonight would bode well for the boys in copper and blue.
Oil on Whyte prediction: Oilers 3 Canucks 2 (OT) – Eberle with the winner.