Oilers-Canucks Preview

The Edmonton Oilers are in a familiar situation heading into their season finale Saturday night against the Vancouver Canucks.

Edmonton is once again in position to earn the best chance for the top overall pick in the draft, a selection it has made four times in the last six years.

The Oilers (31-43-7) will have a 20 percent chance of winning the draft lottery if they finish with the fewest points in the NHL. They're tied with Toronto, which closes at New Jersey on Saturday.

Edmonton's odds for the No. 1 pick - likely to be Swiss center Auston Matthews - dip to 13.5 percent if the Maple Leafs finish with fewer points. If the teams end up tied, Toronto gets the better lottery odds because the Oilers have more regulation wins.

Edmonton took Taylor Hall with the top overall pick in 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins in 2011, Nail Yakupov in 2012 and Connor McDavid last year. However, that hasn't helped on the ice as the Oilers have gone 160-238-59 since drafting Hall - the worst record in the NHL over that span.

Perhaps that's why first-year coach Todd McLellan wants the Oilers to finish strong after they rolled to a 6-2 win over the Canucks (30-38-13) and snapped a three-game losing streak Wednesday in the final game at Rexall Place.

"I think this is a test in regards to character and professionalism coming up," McLellan said after Friday's practice. "Because we passed it the other night doesn't mean we get a night off now in Vancouver. Our goal is to go there, perform and give each other our best and get a win. Then come home and review everything."

The former No. 1 picks shined against Vancouver, with McDavid and Hall each registering a goal and two assists and Yakupov adding a goal. Hall leads the team with 64 points while McDavid is third with 48 despite playing in 44 games.

''It was a really good effort from all fronts,'' Hall said. ''We had some really good goaltending and the special teams that have been letting us down of late were there tonight, huge.

''It was a good way to finish it off here. It was a fun night with really good electricity in the building. We finished it off right.''

Vancouver will miss the playoffs after finishing second in the Pacific Division last season with 101 points. The Canucks followed Wednesday's drubbing in Edmonton with a 7-3 loss at Calgary the next night.

''Obviously change is going to happen,'' said right wing Jannik Hansen, who's played his first nine seasons with Vancouver. ''This is the worst I've ever been a part of since I've been here. It hasn't been very fun.''

The Canucks limp into their finale with a 3-10-1 record in their last 14 games.

"I think it's been a problem this year; we have a few good games, and then we have a few bad games," forward Daniel Sedin told the team's official website. "I think our last 10-12 games we talked about being consistent each and every night, and I think we have been up until these last two games. This hasn't been good enough."

Edmonton has outscored Vancouver 11-5 in going 3-0-1 in the season series behind five points from McDavid.

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.