(SportsNetwork.com) - The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks both take aim
at their first wins of the season on Saturday, as the Canucks open their home
slate at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks began the John Tortorella era on Thursday in San Jose, but the new
head coach's debut didn't go well. Vancouver was handed a 4-1 loss by the
Sharks, so Tortorella will try to earn his first win with the Canucks on home
Vancouver opened the scoring Thursday with a power-play goal from Jason
Garrison in the first period, but Brent Burns tallied the first of San Jose's
four unanswered goals in the second stanza. The Canucks were swept by the
Sharks in the first round of the playoffs last year, prompting Vancouver to
fire head coach Alain Vigneault and bring in Tortorella.
Roberto Luongo gave up all four goals on 35 shots in defeat, but he did help
the Canucks kill off all eight of San Jose's power-play opportunities.
"The first 10 minutes we played the way we should," Tortorella said. "Then
after we scored, we turned a couple over and we lost the momentum."
Vancouver was 15-6-3 as the home team last season and is playing four of its
next five games as the host.
The Canucks and Oilers have been divisional foes for decades, but the clubs
are now members of the Pacific Division after spending recent seasons in the
now-defunct Northwest. The clubs met five times during the lockout-shortened
season of 2013 and Edmonton claimed three of those encounters.
Vancouver, which won the Northwest Division title in each of the previous five
seasons, has claimed six of nine overall in its series against the Oilers.
Edmonton also has lost four of five and nine of the last 11 matchups at Rogers
The Oilers also are aiming to rebound from a season-opening loss after
dropping a 5-4 home decision to Winnipeg on Tuesday. The setback came in the
NHL head coaching debut of Dallas Eakins, who is Edmonton's fifth different
head coach in the last six seasons.
Edmonton held a 4-2 lead in the second period of Tuesday's game before
allowing Winnipeg to notch three unanswered goals to pull off the comeback.
Michael Frolik scored the game-winner for the Jets with 5:02 remaining in the
Devan Dubnyk suffered through a difficult season debut, making just 23 saves
and surrendering all five goals in the setback.
"I just got to be better," Dubnyk said. "I got to give these guys a better
opportunity of winning the game."
Boyd Gordon and Jesse Joensuu both scored in their first game with the Oilers
after signing as free agents in the offseason. Mike Brown and Ales Hemsky were
Edmonton's other goal scorers.
After Saturday's tilt in British Columbia, the Oilers will head back home for
games against New Jersey and Montreal. Edmonton will then follow the two-game
residency with six straight on the road.
Ryan Nugetn-Hopkins will miss his second game to begin the season due to left
shoulder surgery he underwent in April, but Eakins said on Friday that the
forward will return sooner than expected on Monday versus the Devils.
The Sports Network