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Edmonton Oilers to be Canucks first post-COVID opponent

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The Edmonton Oilers are ready to resume their schedule Friday night against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Canucks will be playing their first game since March 24 after having several players in COVID protocol.

They didn’t have a full practice on Wednesday, but the Oilers expect the game to go ahead.

Read more: Edmonton Oilers add defenceman Dmitry Kulikov

“We’re preparing for this game to happen. I think we’re going to play,” said centre Leon Draisaitl. “I’m sure the NHL knows what they’re going. They’ve done a great job so far. If it was not safe, then we wouldn’t play on Friday. I’m sure it’s safe.”

“We’re anticipating it’s on until we hear different. Our travel plans and our practice schedule has been set up that we’re going. I haven’t heard any different,” said head coach Dave Tippett. “Right now, we’re scheduled to go there tomorrow afternoon.”

Read more: Edmonton Oilers come up empty in Calgary

With a record of 25-15-2, the Oilers are third in the North Division and firmly entrenched in a playoff spot. The website sportsclubstats.com gives them a 99.6 per cent chance of making the post-season.

“I don’t see an X on the left of our team yet,” said Draisaitl. “We’re going to try to bank points, improve and get better, and win hockey games.”

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins once again didn’t take part in the Oilers practice on Wednesday. He also sat out the Oilers last two games with an upper body injury.

“He’s still up in the air a little bit. He skated again this morning on his own,” said Tippett. “He’s waiting for some clearance from the doctors. He skated for about 45 minutes this morning. We’ll see where he gets tomorrow.”