Oilers, Canucks square off in Edmonton

The Edmonton Oilers are back home and will entertain the rival Vancouver Canucks tonight from Rexall Place.

Edmonton opened the 2011-12 season with a 2-1 victory in shootout versus Pittsburgh at home on Sunday, then hit the road to Minnesota for Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss from Xcel Energy Center.

Ryan Smyth scored and Jordan Eberle finished with a goal in the shootout to go along with an assist for the Oilers, who are in the midst of playing seven of their first nine games of the season as the host.

Nikolai Khabibulin made 34 saves, as the Oilers dropped their 17th straight game in the Twin Cities. The Wild's home win streak over the Oilers ties the longest in the NHL behind Nashville's 17-game home run over the Blue Jackets.

The last time Edmonton prevailed in Minnesota was Jan. 16, 2007.

"We have got to give (Khabibulin) credit. He kept us in there and gave us a chance," said Smyth, who scored his first goal as an Oiler since Feb. 23, 2007. "We have got to learn how to play 60 minutes and be effective."

Meanwhile, the defending Western Conference champion Canucks have just one win over their first four games this season and will wrap up a four-game road trip this evening in Edmonton.

The Canucks suffered a shootout loss at home to Pittsburgh to begin the campaign on Oct. 6 and evened their mark with a win at Columbus four days later. They then dropped back-to-back games at Philadelphia and Detroit, sustaining a 2-0 loss to the Red Wings on Thursday.

Cory Schneider stopped 35 of the 37 shots he faced for Vancouver, which was outshot by a 37-25 margin and lost a 5-4 decision Wednesday against the Flyers. The Canucks were playing their third game in four nights.

"We were disciplined in the first period, but things got a little out of hand in the second," said Vancouver forward Henrik Sedin. "Against a team like this you have to have five guys back on defense and they were able to take advantage of our mistakes."

Vancouver was without center Ryan Kesler (hip) and forward Mason Raymond (back) and hopes to have them back soon. The Canucks will head home after tonight's game to host the Rangers, Predators and Wild.

The Canucks won four of six meetings with Edmonton a year ago and have prevailed in eight of the last 11 matchups between the clubs. Vancouver has lost seven of its last 12 games as the visitor in this series.