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Daily Primer Oct. 25: End of road for Canucks

by John Kreiser

The schedule-maker saved the toughest challenge of the Vancouver Canucks' seven-game road trip for last.

One night after beating the New Jersey Devils 3-2 at Prudential Center, the Canucks will conclude their trip with a game against the St. Louis Blues.

Vancouver is 4-1-1 on the trip after wins against the New York Islanders and the Devils this week. But the Blues bring a 5-1-1 record into the game at Scottrade Center, where they're 4-1-0, and they've had seven days off since a 4-3 shootout loss on the road against the Winnipeg Jets last Friday.

"It would be easy for us to go in there [with excuses] on a back-to-back, being on the road for two weeks," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said, "but that's when we have to show up and play hard, play as a team."

Here's a look at all of the action Friday night:

New York Islanders at Pittsburgh Penguins -- The last time these two teams saw each other was May 11, when the Penguins beat the Islanders 4-3 in overtime to eliminate New York from the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The Penguins have started the season with seven wins in nine games, though they're coming off a 1-0 home loss to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday. The Islanders are 3-3-3 and have been consistently inconsistent; their 5-4 overtime loss to Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday marked the second time this season they've lost after leading by two goals.

Toronto Maple Leafs at Columbus Blue Jackets -- After a 7-3-0 start, the Maple Leafs are bringing in reinforcements; free-agent signee David Clarkson will make his debut with his hometown team after sitting out a 10-game suspension for an incident during the preseason. Toronto is coming off a 4-2 home victory against the Anaheim Ducks on Tuesday. The Blue Jackets won back-to-back home games against the Canucks and New Jersey Devils after losing five of their first seven games.

Anaheim Ducks at Ottawa Senators -- The Ducks headed east this week with seven consecutive wins; now they're trying to avoid a three-game losing streak after losses to the Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens. They'll have to do it without Teemu Selanne, who is not expected to play in Ottawa after skating in Montreal on Thursday. The Senators, who routed the Detroit Red Wings 6-1 on the road Wednesday, are sure to remember the 56-shot fusillade they faced in Anaheim 12 days ago.

Buffalo Sabres at Florida Panthers -- The Sabres will spend the weekend in the Sunshine State looking for a cure to a 1-9-1 start. They lost 5-2 at home to the Boston Bruins in a game that saw forward John Scott suspended for a hit on Loui Eriksson. More troubling is that Buffalo has scored more than two goals just once in 11 games. The Panthers are 3-6-1 after a 3-2 shootout loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday, a game in which they lost goaltender Tim Thomas to a lower-body injury.

Vancouver Canucks at St. Louis Blues -- The Canucks are 3-0 in overtime and 1-1 in shootouts this season after beating the Devils in a tiebreaker Thursday. They've played four times since the Blues' last game, one in which St. Louis couldn't hold a 3-1 lead and lost at Winnipeg in a shootout. Though Roberto Luongo is 10-5-1 against the Blues in his career, he hasn't started both ends of a back-to-back set this season; Eddie Lack could get his third start of the season.

Carolina Hurricanes at Colorado Avalanche -- The season is less than a month old and the Hurricanes are already down to their third goaltender. Justin Peters wound up having to relieve Cam Ward in Minnesota on Thursday after Ward went down with a lower-body injury that will keep him out for at least three weeks. Ward's regular backup, Anton Khudobin, is already out with a lower-body injury. Peters and rookie Mike Murphy will dress in Denver, where the Avalanche come home with an 8-1-0 record after a 1-0 victory in Pittsburgh on Monday. Colorado has allowed a League-low 12 goals in nine games.

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