Red Flag City: Canucks & Canes


Carolina Hurricanes @ Vancouver Canucks
6:00 PM PST

Hurricanes   Canucks
2 Wins 1
1 Losses 3
2.33 (T-20th) Goals/Game 1.75 (29th)
2.33 (T-9th) Goals Against/Game 2.50 (T-12th)
24.1% (8th) PP 23.1% (7th)
71.4% (T-27th) PK 84.2% (17th)

What To Watch For

> Welcome Injury Bugs of 2011!: One of the reasons Vancouver picked up Keith Ballard was his durability, a key asset for a team that was so snake-bitten with injuries on defense last season. So OF COURSE Ballard’s streak of 250 consecutive games played ends tonight – barely a week into the season – as he sits with a concussion. New fourth liner Alex Bolduc will be gone until almost Christmas with a high ankle sprain. I still blame Sami Salo for all this.

> Welcome Panicked Line Overhauls of 2011!: With Ballard out, Aaron Rome will slot into the third pairing with Andrew Alberts. But up front is where the Canucks need the most tinkering and Vigneault is all too happy to oblige. He rolled out the following lines in practice yesterday: Sedins/Raymond, Hansen/Kesler/Tambellini, Torres/Malhotra/Samuelsson, Schaefer/Rypien/Glass. The Alex Burrows effect is still leveling havoc on the top nine and guys like Kesler and Raymond badly need to start performing. To put it in perspective, Brendan Morrison leads the Flames with four points and Michael Grabner in Florida Long Island has two points, meaning those two castaways have more points than seven of Vancouver’s 12 forwards. Sigh.

> Welcome Must-Win Scenarios of 2011!: Sure the players and Vigneault are saying the right things about not panicking yet, but they’re fooling no one. They are keenly aware of the lofty expectations hovering over them like a storm cloud and another loss before heading on the road for their first NW tilt in Minnesota and a stop over in Chicago will fuel the villagers with their pitchforks outside the gates.