NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, December 15th
(All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (18-10-2) at Carolina Hurricanes (9-18-5), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks haven't lost much in recent weeks,
but they'll be trying to bounce back from a setback when they visit the lowly
Carolina Hurricanes tonight at RBC Center.
The Canucks were dealt a shootout loss Tuesday in Columbus, ending Vancouver's
four-game winning streak and dropping the club to a 9-1-1 mark over its last
11 trips to the ice.
The setback in Ohio also halted Vancouver's road winning streak at five games.
The Canucks, who will complete a five-game swing Saturday in Toronto, are
10-6-1 as the visiting club this season.
Mark Letestu, Rick Nash and James Wisniewski all scored against Vancouver's
Roberto Luongo in Tuesday's shootout to help lift the Blue Jackets to the 2-1
Maxim Lapierre scored the only goal for the Canucks, who are six points behind
Minnesota for first place in the Northwest Division. Luongo made 29 saves in
"It was a hard fought point," Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault said. "That
team there is a much better team than their record indicates. They got good
balance, good solid coaching and they work hard."
The Hurricanes went 1-2-1 on a recent four-game road trip and dropped a 2-1
overtime decision Tuesday in Toronto. It was the ninth loss in 10 games for
Carolina, which is just 1-5-1 since hiring Kirk Muller to take over as head
coach for the fired Paul Maurice.
Toronto's Tim Connolly netted the game-winner 44 seconds into OT on Tuesday.
The difference maker came off a rebound of a Joffrey Lupul shot from the right
circle, which trickled behind Cam Ward and somehow squirted to a trailing
Connolly for an easy stuff-in.
The goal spoiled Ward's 36 saves and the goaltender showed his frustration by
smashing his stick against the post. Ward, who was pulled early in two of his
previous three games, stopped 13 shots in each of the first two periods
"We showed we weren't going to give up," Hurricanes defenseman Derek Joslin
said. "We were able to secure at least a point."
Hurricanes forward Jeff Skinner missed the last two games with an undisclosed
injury, but Carolina confirmed Wednesday that the star winger is suffering
from a concussion and will be sidelined indefinitely. Skinner, who suffered
the head injury on a hit from Edmonton's Andy Sutton on Dec. 7, is leading the
Hurricanes in goals (12) and points (24) this season.
Joni Pitkanen, Carolina's top-scoring defenseman, is also dealing with a
concussion and will miss his fourth straight game tonight. Like Skinner,
Pitkanen is sidelined indefinitely.
Beginning with tonight's tilt, Carolina will play four of its next five games
on home ice. The Hurricanes are 5-9-2 as the host this season.
Vancouver has taken two of the previous three meetings with the Hurricanes and
is 7-2-0 with a tie over the last 10 encounters. Carolina has won two straight
in the series on home ice.
12/15 10:48:36 ET