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Canucks, Oilers meet up after big victories

Dec 21, 2022; Dallas, Texas, USA; Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid (97) scores a goal against Dallas Stars goaltender Jake Oettinger (29) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

If momentum can carry from one game to the next, both the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers are in a good place heading into their Friday clash in the Alberta capital.

The Oilers return home after breaking open a tie game with a three-goal third period on Wednesday in a 6-3 victory over the Dallas Stars, snapping a three-game winless skid.

Meanwhile, the Canucks have an even more exciting victory to use as a springboard into both clubs’ final clash before the holiday break. Vancouver forward Elias Pettersson capped a two-goal, three-assist night with the shootout winner in the Canucks’ 6-5 comeback victory over the visiting Seattle Kraken on Thursday.

Pettersson’s heroics came at a perfect time for the Canucks, who snapped a two-game skid. Making his performance even more impressive was that Pettersson missed the previous two games due to illness and was questionable to play on Thursday.

“I was getting better and then (Wednesday) I made the big turn,” Pettersson said.

Vancouver, which is riding a six-game road winning streak, has needed extra time in its past six victories.

To their credit, the Canucks erased a two-goal, third-period deficit against Seattle, but even while celebrating, they know they can’t follow that formula very often.

“It’s a big relief. Every point matters for us and we’re still hunting for a playoff spot,” Pettersson said. “On the other side, we let in five goals. We’ve got to get better in that aspect.”

The Canucks have surrendered five goals in each of their past three games and allowed 32 goals in their past seven games.

“There’s so many good things that happened, I don’t want to rain on the parade, but you can’t sustain winning 6-5 all year long,” Vancouver forward J.T. Miller said.

The Oilers are sitting in one of the Western Conference wild-card spots the Canucks are shooting for, and drumming up the victory in Dallas provided a much-needed boost.

Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft called the victory “important” and “inspired.”

“I think it’s part of growth, and no one was happy about not getting the two points against St. Louis, not getting the win against Anaheim, but we’ve dug in here,” Woodcroft said.

Although the Oilers are struggling to win on a consistent basis, it’s not due to a lack of offensive standouts. Connor McDavid, the league’s leading scorer, has a 14-game point-scoring streak (13 goals, 17 assists) that is attracting plenty of attention, but the success stories do not end there.

While fellow key forwards Leon Draisaitl and Zach Hyman continue to produce, defenseman Tyson Barrie has collected 12 points in an eight-game streak and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has scored goals in three consecutive games and netted eight points (four goals, four assists) in a five-game run. And last game, it was Mattias Janmark stepping forward with two goals and an assist.

“I feel like I’ve been playing good. I try to work hard. I never try to evaluate my game in points because they can come in all ways,” Janmark said. “Sometimes you make a great play, sometimes the puck just bounces your way, so you try to stick with it as long as you play good, but eventually you need to contribute with something.”

–Field Level Media