CANUCKS (0-1-0) at AVALANCHE (1-0-0)
Season series: First meeting of the year; the Canucks took last season's head-to-head 3-1-2. They also have a two-game winning streak at the
Big Story: The young Avs are coming off a strong performance in their opener, using Joe Sakic's number-retirement ceremony as motivation while they beat the defending Presidents' Trophy winner San Jose Sharks 5-2. Rookie centers Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly recorded their first NHL points while nine Avs tallied assists. "That Joe Sakic ceremony was one of the most amazing things that I have ever seen in my life," Duchene said. "He almost has an aura that kind of rubs off on guys."
Canucks: After going 7-0-2 in the preseason, the Canucks stalled in their first regular-season effort versus the rival Flames, allowing three goals in the first 12 minutes of play, falling into a 4-1 rut, then coming back within one as they outshot Calgary 28-8 the rest of the way. It was not enough, though, as Miikka Kiprusoff preserved a 5-3 Flames victory. "You can't spot a team like that a two- or three-goal lead and expect to win,"
Avalanche: Thursday was a feel-good night at the
Who's Hot: Wojtek Wolski scored twice in the Avs' dominant performance over the Sharks, pacing an offense that finished last in the NHL in scoring in 2008-09. Craig Anderson held off a 5-on-3 Sharks advantage midway through the third with a highlight-reel glove save to help preserve the
Injury Report: Both teams got through their openers unscathed. Canucks prospect Cory Hodgson, re-assigned to his junior club the Brampton Battalion earlier this week, will seek a second medical opinion on a bulging disc in his back incurred during off-ice training early this summer, according to the team.
Stat Pack: Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson is 0-4-1 with a 3.54 GAA versus the Canucks in his career, and allowed five goals in his lone meeting against them last year. Canucks goaltender Roberto Luongo was 2-1-1 with a 1.71 GAA against
Puck Drop: Was Thursday the night Sakic passed the torch to Duchene? Only time will tell, but the first impression, at least, was good.
-- Matt Mankiewich, NHL.com