Canucks-Oilers Preview

The Associated Press

The Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks are carrying plenty of momentum into their six-game road trip.

A matchup with the last-place Edmonton Oilers seems unlikely to slow them down.

Vancouver looks to extend its season-best point streak to 13 games Sunday night when it opens its trek against the Oilers.

The Canucks (37-15-6), whose 80 points are just two fewer than NHL-best Detroit with a game in hand, improved to 9-0-3 in their last 12 games with Saturday's 6-2 home victory over Toronto. The Sedin brothers had each gone three games without a point but stepped up to combine for a goal and seven assists.

"Their work ethic and the way they prepare themselves, it's just a matter of time," said left winger Alexandre Burrows, who added two goals. "We saw it tonight - they had a great game - and I'm pretty confident they'll have a great road trip."

Facing the Oilers (22-29-6) could be a good way to get a great trip started. The Canucks have taken three of four meetings in the season series and 11 of their last 15 games versus Edmonton overall.

The Oilers' 50 points rank ahead of only league-worst Columbus, and they enter this matchup 1-3-1 over their last five games. Two nights after suffering a 4-3 overtime loss to the Maple Leafs, Edmonton fell 3-1 to Colorado on Friday.

Forward Ryan Jones snapped a 21-game goal drought to provide the only offense for the Oilers.

"I just don't think we skated like we could, it looked like we were a little bit tired," center Shawn Horcoff said. "We'll rest up (Saturday) and come back against a real good team in Vancouver on Sunday."

While the Oilers usually struggle against the Canucks, they did take the last meeting at Rexall Place, 3-2 on Oct. 25 as Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall each had a goal and an assist.

"It could be that we still want to play a little bit more when we play against teams that we think are equal to us. Or maybe the respect goes down so the offense goes up. I think it's a defensive mindset that we bring against the top teams that brings a better team game," associate coach Ralph Krueger, who continues to fill in for Tom Renney behind the bench, told the Oilers' official website.

"We've got 25 games to go here, we're learning what it takes to get W's against anybody."

Renney, who was hit in the head by a puck at practice earlier this month, will miss his third straight game with post-concussion symptoms. He is expected to be re-evaluated Monday.

The Oilers could have their hands full with Roberto Luongo coming to town. He made 24 saves for Vancouver on Saturday, improving to 7-0-2 with a 2.01 goals-against average over his last nine games.

Luongo is 19-6-2 with a 2.14 GAA and two shutouts in his last 27 meetings with Edmonton, allowing more than three goals just twice over that span.

Devan Dubnyk started in place of the struggling Nikolai Khabibulin for Edmonton on Friday, turning away 20 shots against the Avalanche.

Khabibulin is 1-8-2 with a 3.79 GAA over his last 11 games overall, and 2-13-1 with one tie and a 3.46 GAA in his last 17 appearances versus Vancouver. His 3.42 career GAA against the Canucks is his worst against any opponent he's faced at least 20 times.

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