The John Tortorella era officially begins tonight when the Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0) begin a brand new season taking on the San Jose Sharks (0-0-0) at the SAP Center, the same building where their playoff run ended last season.
It's a brand new beginning for the Canucks when they begin their 43rd season of competition in the NHL tonight and there’s no better way to start off than by scoring a momentum-building win over their new division rivals, the Sharks - something they failed to do in seven tries last season.
Vancouver dropped all seven head-to-head meetings versus San Jose last year, including all four playoff contests. Roberto Luongo, who will also be experiencing a fresh start of sorts as well as the new-again number one goalie for Vancouver, will get the call between the pipes for the Canucks while the Sharks will counter with Antti Niemi.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Get off to a good start. This rings true especially for the Canucks who surrendered the opening goal in six of their seven meetings against the Sharks last season.
Win the battle between the pipes. Antti Niemi was lights out against the Canucks last year in the regular season posting a 1.63 GAA and .943 save percentage but Luongo never got his shot against San Jose during the regular campaign.
Beware the big three. San Jose's top trio had five goals and nine points combined in three regular season games against the Canucks last year, then added another astounding nine goals and 19 points in the four playoff meetings.
By the Numbers
All-time win percentage for John Tortorella in season openers (6-3-1).
Point needed by David Booth to reach 200 in his NHL career.
Game win streak for the Sharks in season openers. San Jose is 7-10-4 in all-time season openers.
Game winless streak in season openers for the Canucks (0-2-2). Vancouver is 21-16-5 in all-time season openers.
Straight season opener that Roberto Luongo has appeared in for the Canucks. He has started seven of those.
Losses for the Canucks that date back to last year's regular season.