By Colin Hope
The compacted NHL schedule may be a blessing for the Vancouver Canucks as they have an opportunity to put their 7-3 opening night loss to the Anaheim Ducks behind them just 24 hours later.
The quick turn-around was something Alex Burrows appreciated. “That’s the good thing about the 48 game season we get to move on and forget about yesterday.”
The Canucks were in early this morning pouring over the game footage, looking to correct their issues. “It’s the first game of the year and maybe we were a little bit rusty with our reads,” said Kevin Bieksa “We learned from it and put it behind us.”
Tonight’s starting goaltender, Roberto Luongo was joined by Cory Schneider and healthy scratches Jim Vandermeer, Cam Barker and Andrew Alberts on the ice for an optional morning skate.
While admitting he didn’t foresee himself getting another start as the Canucks goaltender, Roberto Luongo was still happy to get the call. “It’s fun, I’m glad to be getting a start and being able to play again for the Canucks,” said Luongo, following his morning session. “It’s an honour and I’m looking forward to tonight.”
Coach Alain Vigneault emphasized he had already made his mind up regarding his goaltending situation: “Nothing happened last night to change my plan. We are focused on tonight.”
With the high-flying Edmonton Oilers in town the Canucks expect another tough night. “They are young and fast,” said Luongo. “They’ve been playing together all year so there’s no rust in their system.” With youngsters Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, joined by high-profile rookie’s Justin Schultz and Nail Yakupov, the Oil should be in mid-season form, meaning keeping their skill in check will be critical.
“It’s very important to not give them a lot of space or time,” said Alex Edler. “We have got to stay close and stay tight as a team to not give them opportunities.”
Alain Vigneault echoed his defenceman’s feelings: “Edmonton has a tremendous amount of young talent, as much in my mind in front as they do on D. It’s a different year and a different team. We are going to play our way.”