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Canucks look to avenge opening loss to Kings

by Matthew Mankiewich

CANUCKS (1-1-1) at KINGS (2-1-0)

TV -- SNET-P (HD),FS-West (HD)

Season series -- The Canucks come to Staples Center looking to avenge a 2-1 shootout loss to the Kings last Saturday in the season opener. It's their first visit to L.A. since winning Game 5 of their first-round playoff series last April.

Big story -- The Kings had payback in mind when they put on the retro purple and gold and made it look like it was 40 years ago all over again. Those Kings beat the Canucks in Vancouver's NHL debut and the current ones repeated history, although there was no shootout back then. Since then, the issue for both teams has been scoring, but the Kings tallied three third-period goals in their home opener Monday, a 3-1 win over Atlanta.

Team scope

Canucks -- The Sedins, Henrik and Daniel, are just fine, with a combined nine points between them. What's not so fine is the team's performance against defensively challenged Anaheim at the Honda Center. The Ducks came into the contest with an 0-3-0 record, having been outscored 13-2 in those games with an average of 48 shots allowed per game, making Jonas Hiller the hardest-working goalie in the League so far. The Canucks kept him busy with 39 shots, but missed opportunities and some unfortunate bounces in the third period gave the Ducks a 4-3 win.

"We have to relax out there," Daniel Sedin told the team's official website. "We were probably squeezing our sticks a little bit too much and that can happen at the beginning of the season. I think we need to play more relaxed and we'll be fine, we have a lot of talent on this team."

Kings -- Coach Terry Murray may take issue with how shots against are counted on the road, but one thing that can't hide in the stat sheets is the number of scoring chances the Kings have allowed.

"The type of scoring chance is high. It's not the overall number, but in Calgary we gave up 10 rushes against. That's too many," he told "That's where we had the puck turned over at the offensive blue line and the goal against was a result of that turnover.

"We had several exactly the same, where they're coming back and getting a great scoring chance against us, or at least a Grade-A chance, what we consider a Grade-A chance. So those rushes against are our own doing. Seven of those 10 were as a result of us turning the puck over. That's what I talk about with those plays where the ice seems to be tilted sometimes. It's your own doing, and that's where we have to manage the puck a lot stronger."

Who's hot -- Kings forward Ryan Smyth had 2 goals and 1 assist Monday night against the Thrashers. … Daniel and Henrik Sedin have each logged at least one point in every Canucks game so far, though for Henrik they're all assists. Roberto Luongo's goals-against average is still under two (1.96) despite allowing four goals in Anaheim.

Injury report -- No new health developments for the Kings this week. Defenseman Matt Greene (shoulder surgery) and forwards Scott Parse (groin) and Ray Kaunisto (foot) remain on injured reserve. Vancouver's Alex Bolduc (ankle) was scheduled to have an MRI Tuesday.

Stat pack -- Daniel Sedin's two points Wednesday put him ahead of Thomas Gradin for fifth on Vancouver's all-time scoring list. At 37.5 percent (3-for-8), the Canucks' power play leads the league. … Raffi Torres was an assist shy of a Gordie Howe hat trick in Anaheim, scoring a goal and dropping the gloves against Sheldon Brookbank after Brookbank had taken a run at Peter Schaefer. Both teams have allowed as many goals as they've scored, Vancouver six each and Los Angeles five. Last year's scoring leader for the Kings, Anze Kopitar, has none so far.

Puck drop -- "Three games into the year, it's a pretty small sample size. If we had seven or eight goals, we wouldn't be having this conversation. At the same time, it's still a small sample size." -- Kings captain Dustin Brown on his team's slow start offensively

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