The Canucks continue their six-game road trip tonight when they take on the Carolina Hurricanes for the second time in 10 days.
A 4-1 loss in Washington was certainly not the way the Canucks wanted to start their six-game road swing but perhaps they deserve some slack considering the Capitals are the top team in the league. They won't get the same benefit of the doubt tonight, however, facing a Hurricanes team that sits virtually in the same spot as they do as far as the standings go and a team that, despite bring a four-game game win streak into tonight's contest, fell 3-2 to the Canucks just nine days earlier at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks, once again tonight, will await word to see if injured players Luca Sbisa and Jannik Hansen are able to reutrn to the line-up. Sbisa appeared good to go yesterday but was held still held out. One line-up change that can be confirmed for tonight's tilt is the return of Jacob Markstrom between the pipes. He'll likely go up against against Cam Ward after ex-Canuck Eddie Lack got the call for the Hurricanes in their 4-1 win over the Blues yesterday. The Canucks are looking to extend their head-to-head win streak against the Hurricanes to six games.
Puck drop at 4 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
There was not a whole lot to be impressed about the Hurricanes when they made their lone appearance of the season at Rogers Arena nine nights ago. Sure, goalie Eddie Lack had his moments in his homecoming but when you make just 18 saves and lose the game, it's hard to call that a successful night out. But out of that rather disappointing effort the Hurricanes found a way to turn things around winning four in a row and finding their offensive touch in the process. In their last four outings, the Hurricanes have out-scored their opponents by a combined 15-7. The offence has been nicely spread around as well with their led by their top line which finally looks like a legitimate threat to score again. The trio of Kris Versteeg, Eric Staal, and Elias Lindholm did not find the scoresheet in their win over the Blues yesterday but, prior to that, had combined for five goals and 15 points points in the first three games of the four-game win streak. Other players who have had strong showings of late include Jordan Staal (six points in last five games although no points in last two) and Jeff Skinner (four points in last four games).
When the Canes made their stop in Vancouver, it appeared that Eddie Lack was on the verge of taking away the number one gig from Cam Ward. Perhaps he would have had he managed to post a victory that night. Ward, however, started the next three games after the Canes' departure from Vancouver winning all three and seemingly putting on hold the usurping of the throne by the ex-Canuck netminder. With that said, whether it's Ward or Lack between the pipes, the Canes want to see more of what they've gotten lately mixed in with an extra save or two in third periods. A late third period goal by Bo Horvat was what sunk them in Vancouver and in their last three straight outings the Hurricanes have allowed at least one third period marker – two of them being tying goals that allowed their opponents to force overtime. The Canes have surrendered 47 third period goals this season - among the most in the league.
Keys to the Game
Vrbata streaks again. For the first time since late November, Radim Vrbata has a point streak albeit a modest one at two games. It's certainly better than the previous six games where he went point-less. The Canucks need the wily vet to continue the streak and take some pressure off the Sedins and the young guys who have been carrying the load of late.
Take advantage of the fresh factor. We've seen this season that being the fresher team hasn't amounted to much. That said, both the Canucks and Canes played last night and Vancouver had a better travel schedule so they should be able to take away some of the benefits usually reserved for the home team.
Cam shines. There are those who feel Cam Ward is living on borrowed time in Carolina but don't tell him that. He may not be seeing the net as much as he's used to but he's out to show he's still a bona fide number one guy. He's riding a season-high three-game personal win streak and has not allowed more than three goals in nine straight outings.
Canucks Gameday Road Report, Presented by Toyota
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks playing on zero days rest (3-1-2).
Win percentage for the Hurricanes playing on zero days rest (7-2-1; 7-0-1 in their last eight).
Hurricane player selected to the All-Star Game: Justin Faulk.
Straight wins for the Canucks in visits to Carolina (last loss: December 15, 2011).
Time this season the Hurricanes will wear their alternate blacks. They are 4-0-2 this season in those jerseys.
Straight games the Canucks have allowed the opening goal. They are 9-15-4 this season when falling behind first.