Since starting the season with three wins in a row, the Canucks have not managed to string together consecutive wins managing just two total victories in their last five outings. But there's no better opportunity than tonight to turn that stat around when they host the NHL's lone remaining winless team in the Hurricanes. Vancouver is looking to carry over the momentum from their 4-2 win over Washington on Sunday night and will be led once again by Ryan Miller, who is riding a personal two-game win streak and is currently sitting just one win shy of recording his 300th career NHL victory. The Canucks had several no-shows at yesterday's practice – namely Henrik Sedin, Brad Richardson and Luca Sbisa – but all three of those players are expected to dress tonight.
The start of the season has been a nightmare for the Hurricanes and it's not only because they're on the verge of going winless in the opening month of the season. They lost Jordan Staal in the pre-season with a broken leg and, in just their second game of the season, lost team captain Eric Staal to an upper-body injury. They've also had to deal with injuries to the likes of Jeff Skinner and Nathan Gerbe. The good news for the Canes is that Eric Staal is expected to be back tonight after missing the last five games. The Canes should be well-rested and well-prepared for this contest considering they've been in town since Friday night after dropping a 6-3 decision to the Oilers that same evening in Edmonton. The Canucks swept the two-game season series against the Hurricanes last year, including blanking Carolina 2-0 at Rogers Arena on December 9.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2014.15 Season Series
Keys to the Game
Avoid the trap. Tonight's game has the classic makings of a trap game with the Canucks coming off an impressive win against the Capitals facing a Hurricanes team looking to avoid going winless in the month of October. The Canucks might be the better bet to win on paper but if they don't show to compete, they could easily walk away with nothing in a game they really should get two points out of.
Miller stays sharp. The Hurricanes are averaging just 24.4 shots per game this season and while that might sound like it's a good thing for any goalie that has to face them, that's not necessarily the case. Fewer shots faced might make it harder to get into a rhythm for a netminder so that's something that Miller will have to be mindful of. To his credit, he handled that quite well on Sunday when he faced just 22 shots from the Capitals.
Staal provides a spark. The Canes should get a boost with the expected return of their captain and best player. Staal, Carolina's leading point producer for the last five consecutive seasons, had a goal and two points in two games to start the season before going down with injury. He has two goals and seven points in nine career games against the Canucks.
By the Numbers
Point needed by Chris Higgins for reach 300 career NHL points.
Win needed by Ryan Miller to reach 300 for his NHL career.
Points earned by Canes this month - will finish as worst Oct. in history. (Prev. low is 6 points – 1982.93 & 1992.93).
Straight wins for the Canucks on home ice against the Hurricanes dating back to January 12, 2002.
Game winless streak to start the season for Carolina, longest in franchise history. Previous high was five games (1987.88 & 2003.04).
Years since the Hurricanes last won in Vancouver – 4-1 victory on October 15, 1999.