NHL West Coast Showdown
Friday’s late game (10:00 PM ET on SN360) features the NHL’s best surprises of the young 2016-17 season: the Vancouver Canucks and the Edmonton Oilers. Sitting first and second in the Pacific Division, the Oilers (5-1-0) and Canucks (4-2-1) have both surpassed even the most optimistic of predictions. There’s no doubt that the hockey world expected the Oilers to improve under the leadership of their newly-anointed captain, Connor McDavid, and make a push for their first playoff appearance since 2005-06. With goaltender Cam Talbot earning the NHL’s first star of the week last week with a 1.00 GAA and .970 save percentage, and leading the league in wins, it seems that Edmonton is finally receiving much-needed support in net.
At the other end of the ice, the Canucks have been equally impressive this season start. Vancouver won their first four games and took the Los Angeles Kings to a shootout, but have since lost the last two games against the Anaheim Ducks and Ottawa Senators. At the start of the season, the Canucks were widely thought to be a team destined for the basement of the Western Conference. While that may still happen, Jacob Markstrom (1.94 GAA, .923 save%) stood in admirably while Ryan Miller recovered from injury. Miller was in net for Vancouver’s two regulation losses, so it will be interesting to see how the Canucks move forward with their goaltending situation.