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TEST FUNG

by Daniel Fung / Vancouver Canucks

Tonight’s game is presented by Canadian Tire. Visit your store for a chance to Win Canucks Playoff Tickets!

Team Record: 50-22-9
Last Game: 2-3 L at Calgary (APR.05.12)

Season Series: 4-1-0
Last Meeting: 5-2 W (FEB.19.12)
Team Record: 32-39-10
Last Game: 2-3 OT/L vs Anaheim (APR.05.12)

Season Series: 1-3-1
Last Meeting: 2-5 L (FEB.19.12)

THE SET-UP

It’s been 273 days since the Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0) last stepped onto the ice at Rogers Arena for a meaningful contest but the longest off-season in recent memory will finally come to an end tonight when they open the 2012.13 season by welcoming the Anaheim Ducks (0-0-0) to town.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

  • The Canucks begin their season with their roster largely intact from last season (outside of injured players) with the notable exceptions of D Aaron Rome (signed with Dallas), D Sami Salo (signed with Tampa Bay) and F Samuel Pahlsson (signed with MoDo in SEL).
  • Andrew Ebbett, Zack Kassian and Jordan Schroeder combined for 23 goals and 60 points in the AHL this season with the Chicago Wolves. They could conceivably make up the entire second line for the Canucks in the absence of Kesler and Booth.
  • We’re not saying the Canucks won’t miss Ryan Kesler or David Booth, but it’s worth noting the Canucks went 2-2-1 in games without Kesler last season and 12-4-2 in games without Booth (after he was acquired from Florida).
  • Don’t expect the Ducks to load up their big-three of Perry, Getzlaf and Ryan all on one unit. Rookie Kyle Palmieri might get that coveted spot beside Perry and Getzlaf.
  • Anaheim’s Bobby Ryan led all scorers in last year’s season series with seven points (2-5-7).
  • Vancouver’s leading scorers against Anaheim last year were Alex Burrows (2-3-5) and Henrik Sedin (1-4-5).
  • Garrison’s former Panther teammate and ex-Canuck D Bryan Allen, along with ex-Star D Sheldon Souray, are among the Ducks’ newcomers this season. Also new are F Daniel Winnik, F Brad Staubitz, and D Jordan Hendry.
  • Back in the 1994-95 lockout shortened season, the Canucks faced the Mighty Ducks five times and dominated the season series winning four times and playing to one tie.
  • Next up for the Canucks is a date with 2012 first overall pick Nail Yakupov and the Edmonton Oilers tomorrow night at Rogers Arena.
  • Next up for the Ducks is a Monday night road contest against the Calgary Flames at the Scotiabank Saddledome.

FOLLOW THE ACTION

Tonight's game faces off at 7 pm PT and can be seen coast-to-coast in Canada on CBC's Hockey Night in Canada. Listen live on The TEAM 1040 Sports Radio or online at teamradio.ca.

Those away from a TV or radio can follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.

THE CANUCKS WIN IF...


  • It may be hard to suggest there is much progress being made for a team that has missed
  • the post-season for six years in a row now but the Oilers did make big strides this season as part of their continuous rebuilding process. Perhaps one of
  • the most improved areas for them this season has been at the defensive end of the ice. Edmonton finished with the third-worst goals against in the league


THE FLAMES WIN IF...


  • It may be hard to suggest there is much progress being made for a team that has missed
  • the post-season for six years in a row now but the Oilers did make big strides this season as part of their continuous rebuilding process. Perhaps one of
  • the most improved areas for them this season has been at the defensive end of the ice. Edmonton finished with the third-worst goals against in the league

RYAN KESLER

There are no shortage of Canucks who will be hoping to use tonight's outing to try and fine tune their game before the start of the playoffs next week and at the top of that list has to be Ryan Kesler. The 27-year-old, who last season posted a career-high 41 goals and exceeded the 70-point mark for the second consecutive year, has had a disappointing campaign by his standards this season managing just 22 goals and 48 points ñ his lowest totals since 2007.08 when he finished with 21 goals and 37 points. He'll try to at least extend his streak of consecutive 50-plus point seasons to four by netting a couple of points in tonight's regular season finale.

JEFF PETRY

Jeff Petry might not have been one of the high-profile youngsters that Oilers fans were buzzing about at the outset of the season but his play throughout this year has definitely turned some heads. The 24-year-old, who will see his entry-level contract expire at the end of this current season, has been one of the Oilers' bright spots on the blue-line leading all team defensemen in points this season with 25 (2-23-25). Petry's production should not come as a huge surprise considering he has managed to put up points at all levels of hockey prior to reaching the NHL including the USHL, College Hockey and the AHL. Last season, he appeared in 35 games with the Oilers racking up just five points.

Game Notes on Canucks.com are written by Daniel Fung. Follow him on Twitter @daniel_fung or e-mail him at dfung_sports@hotmail.com.

CANUCKS LEADING SCORERS

2011.12 Regular Season

Player GP G A P +/-
Henrik Sedin
81 13 67 80 23
Daniel Sedin
72 30 37 67 14
Alexandre Burrows
79 28 23 51 24
Alexander Edler
81 11 38 49 0
Ryan Kesler
76 22 26 48 11
OILERS LEADING SCORERS

2011.12 Regular Season

Player GP G A P +/-
Jordan Eberle
77 34 42 76 5
Taylor Hall
61 27 26 53 -3
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
61 18 34 52 -1
Sam Gagner
74 18 29 47 5
Ryan Smyth
81 19 27 46 -5
IN THE INFIRMARY

For the Canucks...

F Zack Kassian (upper body) is day-to-day. F Daniel Sedin (concussion) is out indefinitely. D Keith Ballard (concussion) and F Aaron Volpatti (shoulder surgery) are on the injured reserve list.

For the Oilers...

D Corey Potter (concussion-like symptoms) is day-to-day. F Taylor Hall (left shoulder surgery), D Ladislav Smid (head/neck) and D Theo Peckham (concussion) are on the injured reserve list.

BY THE NUMBERS

7 – Points for Alex Burrows (3-4-7) against the Oilers this season, leading all players in the season series.

7 – Wins for the Canucks this season when wearing their third jerseys (7-5-2).

21 – All-time wins for the Canucks in regular season finales (21-13-6). Vancouver has won their last three regular season finales in a row.

211th – All-time meeting between the Canucks and Oilers. Vancouver trails the all-time series 84-99-27.

403 – Consecutive sellouts for Vancouver Canucks hockey at Rogers Arena entering tonight's game. The sellout streak began on November 14, 2002 and includes 360 regular season games and 43 post-season games.

THE TWEET STUFF

@CanucksGame

- Tweeting is the most fun thing to do ever in the whole world!

@CanucksGame

- I am going to take someone's head off tonight - fo shizzle.

@CanucksGame

- I can't wait to watch tonight's Canucks game. They are the greatest team to ever do anything ever at anytime ever.

DID YOU KNOW?

It might be difficult to suggest that a team that has now missed the playoffs for six consecutive years is making progress but the Oilers can take some solace in the fact that, at least compared to last year, they have made leaps and bounds in the wins column.

The Oilers come into tonight's game with 32 wins which marks a seven-win improvement from last year's total of 25. A victory tonight would make that an eight-win improvement from the previous season.

 
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