SUN Hockey Pool

Anger on both sides

The Oilers are coming off two straight losses on the road. (Sun Media/Tim Smith)

The Oilers are coming off two straight losses on the road. (Sun Media/Tim Smith)

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:37 AM ET

Expect the Vancouver Canucks to be in a foul mood tonight against the Edmonton Oilers.

They're heading into the game fresh off an 8-2 pounding at home to the Philadelphia Flyers.

If that wasn't bad enough, the game saw Flyers forward Jesse Boulerice crosscheck Canucks centre Ryan Kessler in the face.

"We're in a pretty bad mood too," said Oilers centre Jarret Stoll.

"We don't want to keep this train going in the direction it's going. We want to get a win, get on the other side of it and start putting some wins on the board.

"We're going to be a hungry team too. We have to change some things, we have to be better in some areas and I'm sure we will be."

OVERTIME

Heading into tonight's game, the Canucks currently sit fourth in the Northwest Division with an overtime win to show for their first three games.

The Oilers are two points above them with two victories in four games so far this season. However, the Oilers coming off two straight losses on the road to Detroit and Minnesota.

The game is the first of a home-and-home series between the two clubs.

They'll renew acquaintances tomorrow in Vancouver.

"We know what's at stake," Stoll said.

"If you win in your division you're going to be sitting well, that's why games in your division are so important. You play so many of them, that those points are huge in the standings."

SIX OF EIGHT

Tonight's meeting is the first of eight between the teams this season. Last year the Canucks won six of the eight encounters on their way to the division title.

The previous year the Oilers won six of the eight games on their way to the Stanley Cup final.

"There are a lot of wild things happening in the division right now," said

Oilers head coach Craig MacTavish. "A lot of times you can really take advantage of a good start in the divisional games.

"We didn't get off to a great result against Minnesota, but we have another opportunity (today).

"Vancouver has had a lot of success against us recently. They're going to be very motivated as we will be coming off a couple of losses. So the table is set for what should be a good game in here, we're looking forward to it."

In their loss to the Flyers Wednesday, the Canucks gave up four first-period goals chasing starting goaltender Roberto Luongo after 20 minutes. Philadelphia added three more in the second period before things turned nasty in the third, punctuated by Boulerice's crosscheck on Kesler.

The Canucks centre was lucky to avoid serious injury on the play and is expected to be in the lineup tonight.

Boulerice was suspended indefinitely pending a hearing by the league.

"It's going to be a big game," said Oilers centre Shawn Horcoff. "If you want to be successful and make the playoffs you have to have a winning record against divisional opponents. Vancouver is a good team and it's going to be a big test for us."


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