Edmonton (10-12-4) at Vancouver (13-11-0)

Partly Cloudy Currently: Vancouver, BC
Temp: 30° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Sat Nov 28, 2009
  • TV: CBC
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Coming off another frustrating loss the same day they lost one of their top scorers to a season-ending injury, the last thing the Edmonton Oilers likely want to do is hit the road.

The Oilers hope to avoid a fifth consecutive road loss when they open a season-high, six-game trip Saturday night against the surging Vancouver Canucks.

Ahead by a goal in the final two minutes, Edmonton (10-12-4) lost 5-4 in a shootout against San Jose on Friday to conclude a 2-2-1 homestand. The Oilers have four wins in their last 17 games.

Friday’s loss came hours after the team learned second-leading scorer Ales Hemsky(notes) will have season-ending surgery to repair his left shoulder. Already dealing with shoulder problems, Hemsky was injured Wednesday night in a 3-1 loss to Los Angeles. He had seven goals and 15 assists in 22 games.

“Obviously, when you lose a player with the stature of Ales Hemsky it’s difficult, but there is nothing we can do,” general manager Steve Tambellini said.

The Oilers appeared in good shape to win Friday despite Hemsky’s absence.

Ryan Potulny(notes) had two goals while Dustin Penner(notes) and Gilbert Brule(notes) each added a goal with an assist, but San Jose’s Patrick Marleau(notes) tied the game with 1:26 left in regulation. Edmonton missed all three attempts in the shootout.

“There is no way we should have lost this hockey game,” Oilers coach Pat Quinn said. “We did some really good things, but what has been our problem here from day one is we don’t cover well against our net. We have a group that stares at the puck and doesn’t recognize danger.”

Though Potulny has scored three of his five goals in the last two games, and Penner’s recorded five points in his last four, Edmonton hits the road where it’s 2-7-2. The Oilers are 0-2-2 away from home since winning 5-3 at Colorado on Nov. 8.

While the Oilers are 1-1 against the Canucks (13-11-0) this season, they lost 2-0 at Vancouver on Oct. 25.

Henrik Sedin(notes) scored a goal in that contest and had one with an assist in Vancouver’s 4-1 victory over Los Angeles on Thursday.

Kyle Wellwood(notes) and Alex Burrows(notes) also added a goal and assist each as the Canucks won for the third time in four games since losing three in a row.

Vancouver has outscored its opponents 17-6 in its last four games, which included a 1-0 loss to Chicago on Sunday.

“We’ve got to get on a roll and start feeling good about ourselves,” forward Ryan Johnson(notes) told the Canucks’ official Web site.

Sedin, who has a team-leading 14 goals and five in his last four games, has just one goal but 11 assists in his last 15 games versus the Oilers.

Vancouver’s Roberto Luongo(notes) made 31 saves Thursday to improve to 9-8-0 with a 2.45 goals-against average this season. He’s 13-7-2 with one tie and a 2.30 GAA against the Oilers.

Edmonton’s Jeff Deslauriers made 27 saves against San Jose and could make his sixth straight start in place of Nikolai Khabibulin(notes), who’s day-to-day with a sore back.

Deslauriers, 3-3-2 with a 2.58 GAA, made 27 saves in the October loss to Vancouver in his only appearance against the Canucks.

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Saturday, Nov 28