Published January 13, 2015
(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 ice.
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 Arena.
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 third period.
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.