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Sedins make final appearance as Canucks visit Oilers
They came into the world together. Days removed from being teenagers, they made their NHL debuts together.
And after more than 2,800 regular and postseason games with the team that drafted them, they will leave the ice together for the final time late Saturday night.
Two of the league's greats cap off sure-fire Hall of Fame careers as Daniel and Henrik Sedin lead the Vancouver Canucks against the Edmonton Oilers.
Sandwiched around Patrik Stefan and Pavel Brendl in the 1999 NHL Draft, Daniel was selected second, one spot ahead of Henrik. It took separate trades with the Chicago Blackhawks, Tampa Bay Lightning and Atlanta Thrashers to put Vancouver in position to select the Swedes.
"Five minutes before it started, (Canucks scout Thomas Gradin) walked up to us. He was yelling from the floor telling us that it was going to happen," Henrik told Canada's Global News in a 2016 article.
The Sedins would quickly become synonymous with Canucks hockey and go on to win scoring titles in consecutive seasons. Henrik collected 112 points en route to an MVP season in 2009-10, followed by Daniel with 104 in 2010-11.
Now 37 years old and with their respective contracts expiring at the end of the season, the twins announced in low-key fashion last Monday that this would be their final season.
"I hope we can treat the final games the same way as any other game, but it's going to be emotional," Henrik said at a press conference.
The twins had a storybook ending to their final game in Vancouver on Thursday. Daniel scored his second goal of the game off a helper from Henrik in overtime to lift the Canucks past the Arizona Coyotes, 4-3.
"You couldn't dream of a better ending in this building," said Daniel, who is second in franchise history with 1,041 points -- and trails only Henrik with 1,070.
Both players have bedeviled Edmonton for nearly 20 years. Henrik has 17 goals and 67 assists in 95 games; Daniel has 37 goals and 47 assists in 92 games.
"They've been mortal enemies of the Oilers for many, many years, but we've also been able to appreciate and watch their skill level and how they affected and changed the game in a lot of different ways. We'll appreciate them (Saturday) night, and enjoy the evening," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said Friday.
Vancouver (31-40-10) is going for a split of the four-game season series, and its second win in seven games in Alberta.
Instead of playoff hockey and like the Canucks -- Edmonton (35-40-6) will look ahead to where they will be slotted in the draft lottery.
With 106 points (41 goals, 65 assists), Connor McDavid is just about a lock to become the first player to win back-to-back scoring titles since the Pittsburgh Penguins' Jaromir Jagr took home four straight Art Ross Trophies between 1998 and 2001.
Making a bit of personal history is nice, but the Oilers' captain would rather be playing past Saturday night.
"We have nights where we're really good and we have nights where we're really bad," McDavid said after notching three assists in a 4-3 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday. "It's definitely something we've got to figure out. We've beat some good teams, and we've lost to some teams that ultimately we should not have lost to."
The reigning Hart Trophy winner has 14 three-point games this season, with Edmonton going 11-2-1. The Oilers are 24-38-5 when McDavid has two or fewer points.
McDavid also has posted at least one point in all six career home games against Vancouver, totaling three goals and six assists. The Oilers are 5-0-1 in those contests.
A particularly trying season is coming to an end for Edmonton's Cam Talbot, who has 30 wins -- 12 fewer than last season. He also managed one shutout after collecting seven in 2016-17.
Since joining the Oilers, Talbot is 4-0-1 with a 1.18 GAA and two shutouts against the Canucks in Edmonton.
Updated April 6, 2018