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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, October 17th (All times eastern)

Carolina Hurricanes (2-1-0) at Vancouver Canucks (1-2-1), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks came into this year as a favorite to win the Stanley Cup, but they have yet to get their 2010-11 season on track. Alain Vigneault's club will try to build some momentum tonight, when they host the Carolina Hurricanes at Rogers Arena.

The Canucks have just one win in four games (1-2-1) to begin the year and were dealt consecutive regulation losses on a recent two-game road trip. Vancouver was handed a 4-3 loss by Anaheim on Wednesday before falling to Los Angeles on Friday.

The Kings, who were eliminated by Vancouver in six games during the opening round of last spring's playoffs, handled the visiting Canucks, 4-1, on Friday. Dustin Brown scored twice and Jonathan Quick made 25 saves to lead LA to the decisive win at the Staples Center.

Daniel Sedin scored the lone goal for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo turned aside 15-of-19 shots in defeat.

"It was a hard-fought game, two teams battling really hard. Not a lot of room out there," Vigneault said. "We didn't give them much [and] they didn't give us much. They got a couple of bounces on their first two goals...We just have to stick with the process."

Luongo has struggled in his last two outings, giving up eight goals on 51 shots after stopping 72-of-74 shots in his first two games. However, the Canucks are still expected to go with Luongo tonight rather than give backup Cory Schneider his first start of the year.

Vancouver defenseman Keith Ballard will also miss tonight's test and potentially a much longer period of time after suffering a concussion in the loss to the Kings. Ballard played in his 250th consecutive game on Friday, but that iron man streak will now come to an end.

The Hurricanes played for the first time in North America this year in their last trip to the ice, but they were dealt a close regulation loss by Ottawa. Carolina began the season by sweeping the Minnesota Wild in a two-game set in Helsinki, Finland last weekend.

Carolina was handed a 3-2 setback by the host Senators on Thursday as Mike Fisher scored the game-winning goal on the power play late in the third period to lift Ottawa.

Sergei Samsonov and Eric Staal scored for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward allowed three goals on 39 shots in Thursday's losing effort.

"This was a tough loss to swallow," said Ward. "For them to get the game- winning goal after we fought back to tie the game was tough, but now we are going to put this game behind us."

The Hurricanes won't get to play on their home ice at RBC Center until October 27 against Washington. This evening's tilt marks Carolina's second stop on a five-game road trip, which will also include tests in San Jose, Los Angeles and Phoenix.

Carolina recorded a home win over the Canucks in the only meeting between the clubs last season. Vancouver still has six wins in the last nine encounters with the Hurricanes and Carolina has lost four straight in British Columbia. .

10/17 10:57:44 ET


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