While the Bure ceremony might steal the show in the early going, the Canucks' primary focus will be on rebounding after Wednesday's "lethargic" performance in their 2-1 loss to the Red Wings. Vancouver has not dropped consecutive games in regulation since they closed out their last home stand with back-to-back losses to the Sharks and Habs and will be looking to avoid dropping their fourth game in their last five home outings before they embark on yet another extended trip starting Tuesday in Phoenix.
If the Canucks are to be victorious tonight, they will need to get past a red hot Leafs team that has won three in a row and are looking to sweep their three-game Western Canada road swing with a win in Vancouver. Tonight will mark the return of ex-Canuck Mason Raymond to Rogers Arena for the first time since he signed with Toronto as a free agent following six seasons in Canucks colours. Roberto Luongo is expected to get the start for the Canucks while the Leafs will likely counter with James Reimer.
The Bure ceremony commences at 4 pm PT with puck drop scheduled for 4:20 pm PT - Live on TSN, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
The secondary scorers chip in. The Canucks learned the hard way on Wednesday what happens if they don't get someone either than the recently re-signed Sedins or Kesler scoring goals. Facing a Leafs team that has quite a bit of scoring depth (they average 3.36 goals per game), Vancouver will need some of their bottom-nine forwards to chip in offensively.
Feed off the crowd. This is applicable to both teams. While Canucks fans will no doubt be buzzing and fired up emotionally with the pre-game festivities, there will also be a strong contingent of those from Leafs Nation that will descend upon Rogers Arena. The building will be rocking and both teams would be wise to try and harness some of that energy.
Kessel keeps shooting. The Leafs' star forward was held off the scoresheet in Calgary on Wednesday but just before that everything he touched seemed to be going in. He had seven goals on just 13 shots in the four games combined before being blanked against the Flames for a shooting percentage of 53.8.
By the Numbers
Straight home wins for the Canucks over the Leafs in head-to-head meetings (last home loss Nov. 22, 2003).
Straight wins for the Canucks over the Leafs in head-to-head meetings (last loss Nov. 24, 2003).
Game point streak for Henrik Sedin coming into tonight's game (3-9-12), one shy of setting a new career-high.
Points for Toronto's Mason Raymond in 14 games played (he had 22 in 46 games last season with Vancouver).
Average shots on goal surrendered per game by the Leafs this season, near the top of the league in that category.
Goals scored by Pavel Bure as a member of the Canucks – his last coming against the Maple Leafs in Vancouver on Apr. 19, 1998.