The fate of the Vancouver Canucks this season (as in every season in recent memory) rests in the hands of Daniel and Henrik Sedin.
Early returns from the 1st game of the season in Calgary are good…Henrik went 1G 1A while Daniel picked up 1A and their new line mate, Radim Vrbata, scored his 1st goal as a Canuck.
“If they can get back to “normal,” they can get production out of their third-wheel (currently Vrbata), and the Canucks can muster a more productive power play, even in consideration of the natural decline with age, there is no reason to believe that they can’t easily surpass their 2013-14 overall production totals, and likely come relatively close to their 2011-12 numbers. Takers on 70+ points anyone? I don’t see why not.”
Much, much more on what to expect from the Sedins this season is here…really a great read.
The Canucks have a very odd October schedule in that they played the Flames on Wednesday, got 3 days off before their home opener against the Edmonton Oilers Saturday night and then don’t play again for almost a week when they travel to Edmonton to take on the Oilers again.
While the Canucks will have only played twice when they meet the Oilers for the second time, the Oilers will be playing their 5th game, sandwiching a road trip to Los Angeles and Arizona in between those two games against the Canucks.
You would think that gives the Canucks a huge advantage in both games against the Oilers since they have the rare opportunity to practise during the season and will have ample time for rest and recovery from any minor injuries while the Oilers take their lumps against 2 big, heavy teams on their road trip.
In another scheduling oddity, the Canucks and Oilers play each other again on November 1st and November 19th so, if one teams dominates this season series, they could do a lot of damage to the aspirations of the other.
The Sedins have rag dolled the Oilers for years…winning their home opener last season against the Edmonton team 6-2 with Henrik picking up 3 points and Daniel 2.
Last season the teams didn’t meet again until December 13th and it was the same old story with the Canucks winning 4-0 although the Sedins had a quiet night.
If I were a betting man…okay I’m a betting man…I expect the Canucks will win both games against the Oilers this month.
The Oilers D still looks like a work in (cough) progress and there are still huge questions about their goaltending based on Scrivens’ performance against the Flames Thursday.
It’s entirely plausible that the Oilers come home from their road trip 0-4 (maybe they can beat Arizona) to play a rested Canucks squad playing just its 3rd game of the season.
That the Oilers play the high powered Tampa Bay Lightning two days later could trigger a fan revolt if the Oilers open the season 0-6.
The Oilers follow that game with another 5 at home in a row against the Capitals, Hurricanes, Canadiens, Predators and, you guessed it, the Vancouver Canucks on November 1st.
Last season, the Oilers were out of the playoff race by Halloween and, unless they can find some success against the Canucks in the next 21 days, it could happen again.