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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, December 5th (All times eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (16-12-0) at Carolina Hurricanes (5-17-5), 1:30 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks have been on a roll so far on their current East Coast trip, and the ever-struggling Carolina Hurricanes don't figure to put a stop to that momentum.

Vancouver will be out to hand the Hurricanes a sixth straight loss when the two teams face off this afternoon at the RBC Center.

The Canucks have opened this four-game trek in highly impressive fashion, dealing the New Jersey Devils a 5-2 loss on Wednesday before shutting out Philadelphia the following night behind a stellar performance from Roberto Luongo. The All-Star goaltender stopped all 38 shots he faced in Vancouver's 3-0 triumph over the Flyers.

"We knew this was an important road trip for us," said Luongo following Thursday's win. "These first two games were tough buildings to play in and tough teams. We're happy with the results of the first two games. We know we still have two huge games left before we go back home."

Vancouver will also visit Nashville, which owns a 9-5-0 record as the host this season, on Tuesday before settling in for an eight-game homestand that will span over two weeks.

Willie Mitchell gave Luongo all the offensive support the standout netminder would need when he scored with 6:22 left in the second period. Alexandre Burrows made it a 2-0 lead less than four minutes later, and Christian Ehrhoff added an insurance goal late in the third to help the Canucks win for the sixth time in their past eight outings.

Carolina has won only five times all season long and is entrenched at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings with a paltry 15 points in 27 games. The undermanned Hurricanes also rank last in the NHL in both goals (62) and goals-against average (3.51).

The club's woes continued on Monday, when Southeast Division leader Washington skated to a 3-2 win at the RBC Center despite losing superstar Alex Ovechkin to a knee injury in the first period.

Carolina defenseman Joe Corvo also got hurt during the game, suffering a cut on his right leg from the skate of Washington's Karl Alzner. The veteran blueliner underwent surgery on Tuesday and is expected to miss at least two months.

Corvo's injury occurred only 34 seconds after he gave the Hurricanes a short- lived 1-0 lead with a power-play goal 4:35 into the contest. Carolina didn't score again until Matt Cullen found the net with 16 seconds remaining in regulation and the team having pulled goaltender Michael Leighton, who ended the night with 30 saves.

The Hurricanes did post a 3-1 victory in Vancouver's last visit to Raleigh, back on October 22, 2007, but the Canucks have won six of the last seven meetings in the series.

12/05 10:26:53 ET


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