The season didn’t quite start the way Vancouver Canucks fans expected as the Canucks got thumped 7-3 in their season opener against the Anaheim Ducks last week. Rust, timing and lack of execution were clearly evident, but as the week went along the Canucks seemed to start putting in better efforts.
They did lose in the shootout against the young and talented Edmonton Oilers before winning in the shootout against the Calgary Flames. In that win against the Flames, the Canucks were led by one of their best players in the early season – Zack Kassian, who scored a goal on the shootout so dirty and so slick that I think Miika Kiprusoff is still looking for his jockstrap.
A couple of days later, the Canucks redeemed themselves against the Ducks. They went into Anahiem, who was hosting their first home game, and won decisively by a 5-0 score. This game was by far their best of the five they’ve played to-date – they played with a lot of physicality, scored some beautiful and gritty goals, and were buoyed by an excellent goaltending performance from Cory Schneider.
The Canucks then ended the week in San Jose, where they couldn’t take advantage of Ryane Clowe’s meltdowns and numerous powerplay advantages, and couldn’t find any puck luck from the hockey gods (5 posts!) en route to a 4-1 loss.
Monday, January 28, 2013 at Los Angles Kings (7:30 PM start)
Roberto Luongo will get the start in the building where he lost his starting position in last years playoffs. This will be Bobby Lu’s second start of the season.
With just one win in their first 4 games (1-2-1), the Kings might be experiencing the infamous Stanley Cup hangover. Their official Twitter account may have picked up right from where they left off last season, but the Kings themselves are still struggling to put some wins together.
In the last regular season, the Canucks went 2-1-1 against the Kings. Captain Hank Sedin had 4 points (1G-3A) in 3 games while Anze Kopitar led LA with 4 points in 4 games.
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 vs. Colorado Avalanche (7:00 PM)
This past summer, Gabriel Landeskog was named the Avs’ youngest captain in franchise history. It’s unknown if Landeskog will be in the lineup on Wednesday as he’s still feeling the effects of a big hit he took from Brad Stuart of the Sharks.
Newcomer PA Parenteau has fit right into the Avs system with 2 goals, 1 assist and a team-best plus-4 in 4 games.
The Canucks had Colorado’s number last year, winning all 6 games in the season series. Luongo was in goal for 4 of those wins; Schneider was in net for 2. Hank, Jannik Hansen, Chris Higgins and Kevin Bieksa all had 5 points each against the Avs last season.
Friday, February 1, 2013 vs. Chicago Blackhawks (7:00 PM)
Canucks fans have had this Friday night meeting against the Blackhawks circled on their calendar since the schedule was released. The rivalry between these two teams speaks for itself, and these matchups are always some of the most entertaining – and most heated – games of the NHL season. Not like the Canucks need more motivation, but the Blackhawks, having won all of their first 6 games, are one the hottest teams in the league. This will also be the first time that the Canucks will meet Duncan Keith after Keith’s dirty elbow put Daniel out of action at the end of last season. It’s an interesting subplot and we’ll see if anything comes out of it.
Patrick Kane currently leads the ‘Hawks with 9 points (2G-7A) and Marian Hossa leads them with 5 goals.
Last season, the Canucks were 2-1-1 against Chicago. Kane and Hossa led the Hawks with 4 points each in the season series while Hank Sedin had 6 points in their 4 meetings.