NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, December 1st (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (13-10-5) at Carolina Hurricanes (10-11-5), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The struggling Vancouver Canucks hope to secure their first road victory against the Carolina Hurricanes in over 11 years as the two clubs clash on Sunday afternoon.
The Canucks have split the first two of a four-game road trip that ends on Tuesday versus the Nashville Predators. Having lost eight of its last 10, Vancouver is aiming to get on track during this swing and will try to do so with its first victory in Carolina since Nov. 27, 2002.
The Canucks have lost three straight as the guest in this series since, including a 4-3 loss on Dec. 15, 2011 in the most recent encounter between these clubs.
Vancouver is coming off a highly-anticipated showdown with the New York Rangers on Saturday afternoon, with Canucks coach John Tortorella making his return to Madison Square Garden after being fired in the offseason by the Rangers.
He was coincidentally replaced by Alain Vigneault, the former coach of the Canucks who was also dismissed this summer, and could not make his Big Apple return a success as Vancouver was defeated 5-2.
"I'm not going to lie, it's a little weird for me coming back," Tortorella said. "But once the game starts, it's about playing and trying to find a way to get a win."
That didn't happen despite goals from David Booth and Daniel Sedin. Roberto Luongo was pulled 17 seconds into the second period after allowing his third goal on 10 shots faced.
Eddie Lack allowed two goals on 14 shots in relief of Luongo, who should get a chance to rebound today and is 10-13-1 with three ties and a 2.59 goals against average in 27 career games (25 starts) versus the Hurricanes franchise.
Carolina is coming off a split of a home-and-home set with the New Jersey Devils. The 'Canes won their second straight by picking up a 4-3 victory in the Garden State on Wednesday, but then failed to hold a third-period lead in losing Friday's home tilt 5-2 after giving up four goals in the final frame.
Jeff Skinner and Jordan Staal each scored once for Carolina, which has lost five of its past seven as it was held to a season-low 18 shots. Cam Ward allowed all five goals on 31 shots in defeat.
"We couldn't close the game out as a team and we have to be able to do that having a lead going into the third," Skinner said.
Skinner was playing in his fifth game since missing 11 straight with an upper- body injury and scored his first goal since Oct. 19.
Defenseman Andrej Sekera, though, missed Friday's game with an upper-body ailment and is unlikely to play today as well.
Ward is 2-2-1 with a 3.38 GAA in five previous starts versus the Canucks.
12/01 10:27:14 ET