Photo credit:Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports
Canucks game day: Turning Lindholm loose against the red-hot Hurricanes
14 days ago
The Vancouver Canucks (33-11-5) welcome Elias Lindholm to the lineup for the opener of a five-game road trip when they visit the Carolina Hurricanes (28-15-5) in Raleigh.
As good as the Canucks have been since Christmas going 10-2-2, the Canes are a point better posting an 11-2-1 mark over that same span. That sets up a terrific showdown as both teams return to action following the NHL All Star break.
The newcomer Lindholm will debut against the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2013. He will start on left wing with Elias Pettersson and Ilya Mikheyev. Thatcher Demko is expected to get the nod in net and has won a career-best eight straight starts and is 14-1-1 in his last 16 outings dating back to December 6th.
The Canucks mounted a furious comeback to defeat Columbus 5-4 in overtime in their last game on January 27th. Trailing 4-1 to start the third period, the Canucks scored three power play goals in the third and then won the game in OT. Brock Boeser had a hattrick while Elias Pettersson scored the other two goals, including the winner.
Boeser’s three-goal effort snapped a season-high six game drought. It was his third hattrick of the season and helped him reach the 30-goal mark for the first time in his NHL career. The Canucks power play struck three times against the Blue Jackets and was seven for 18 on the team’s recently completed five-game homestand (38.9%).
Elias Pettersson shared the NHL league lead with 14 goals in 13 games in January, including five separate two-goal games. He was the first Canuck to score 14 goals in a month since Alex Burrows in January 2010. For his efforts, Pettersson was named NHL Third Star of the month.
The Canucks are 9-0-2 in their last 11 games overall and 8-1-3 in their last dozen on the road.
Quinn Hughes (62) and Filip Hronek (36) have combined for 98 points on the season and are closing in quickly on the franchise record for highest scoring defensive duo in a single season. They are tied for second on the list and just two points from matching the record of 100 combined points held by Doug Halward (52) and Rick Lanz (48) set in 1982-83. Hughes carries a six-game point streak into action tonight (1+10=110.
The Hurricanes were 3-1 winners over Arizona in their final game before the All Star break. They outshot the Coyotes 39-11 including 18-0 in the third period where they scored the winner in the final minute.The shots were 32-3 over the final two periods.
Carolina has won three straight and four of five. Since Christmas, the Hurricanes are 11-2-1. They sit second in the Metropolitan Division four points back of the first place New York Rangers with a pair of games in hand.
Pyotr Kochetkov, returning from concussion, will make his first start in goal since January 11th. The Canes will be without winger Andrei Svechnikov who is close to returning to the line-up after missing four games with an upper body injury.
The Canes special teams are near the top of the NHL. Their power play is second in the league at 28.0% while their penalty kill is fourth at 84.2%. As the Coyotes discovered, Carolina also gives up the fewest shots in the league holding opponents to 25.0 on average.
Sebastian Aho leads the team in goals (17) and points (54). The rest of Carolina’s scoring is spread throughout the line-up. They have seven double-digit goal scorers and 11 players with more than 20 points. As well, only two teams in the league have more goals from their defence than the Hurricanes who have 31 goals from blueliners led by Brent Burns with eight and Brady Skjei with seven.
With injuries to a couple of goalies, the Canes claimed former Canuck Spencer Martin off waivers from Columbus on January 19th. He won his only start so far posting a 3-2 victory in Boston.
The Canucks defeated Carolina 4-3 in Vancouver on December 9th. Sam Lafferty, Ilya Mikheyev, JT Miller and Elias Pettersson scored goals that night while Thatcher Demko made 21 saves.
Tonight’s referees: Michael Markovic and Ghislain Hebert
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