The Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks close out the 2016-17 season with a home and home series, starting with Saturday’s, April 8th, matchup at Rogers Arena in Vancouver and followed by a Sunday evening contest on April 9th, at Rogers Place in Edmonton, the last day of regulation games.
The teams were on vastly different trajectories this season, with the Canucks missing the playoffs for consecutive seasons for the first time since 1999-2000, while the Oilers are heading to the postseason for the first time in a decade.
One is a team centred on youth and geared towards the future, while the other is in need of rebuilding.
Here’s everything you need to know about this weekends matchup:
The Oilers are headed to the playoffs. Led by the supremely talented Connor McDavid, who is tops in the league in scoring and is six points shy of reaching the 100 mark, the Oilers clinched their postseason berth with a 2-1 victory over the L.A. Kings last Tuesday.
They rank 2nd in the Pacific Division with 97 points, 2 points behind the Anaheim Ducks, with four games remaining. They are 9-1-0 in their last ten games and have won five in a row heading into Tuesday’s rematch against the Kings at the Staples Centre, the first of a three game road trip before their back to back contests against the Canucks.
If the playoffs started today, the Oilers would face the San Jose Sharks in the first round, which, in all likelihood, will be the case.
Few things went right for the Canucks this season. With 69 points through 78 games, the Canucks rank 27th in the league. Part of the reason for their struggles is an abysmal road record of 12-23-3, while they’re home record is just above .500 at 18-16-6.
None of their players rank as league leaders in any category and Bo Horvat is the only player to have reached the 20 goal mark this late in the season. Additionally, the Sedin brothers are an uncharacteristic -28 (Henrik) and -17 (Daniel), although, in fairness, the Sedins, along with Luca Sbisa are the only players to have competed in every contest this season, thanks to a string of injuries and illnesses that hampered team chemistry.
With a 2-8-0 record in their last ten games, the Canucks have lost four in a row, including Sunday night’s 3-1 defeat to the San Jose Sharks at home. They will get a chance at redemption in Tuesday’s rematch at the SAP Centre before visiting the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday.
However, at this point, fans are hoping the Canucks lose out the season with sights on a high draft pick, and if injuries continue to take their toll the Canucks could finish as low as 29th, with the Coyotes in that position with 67 points and just above them are the New Jersey Devils with 68 points, one behind the Canucks. The Colorado Avalanche with a woeful 45 points will finish last.
In three games between the clubs the Oilers have the edge with two shutout victories (both 2-0) and a shootout loss (3-2). They last met on March 18th at Rogers Place, one of the 2-0 victories.