Torts: “Hey Kes, I’m going for all you can eat after this, wanna come?”
Hansen: “I never get invited anywhere cool….”
The Florida Panthers are in town tonight to face our bent but not broken Vancouver Canucks. It’s the first of two meetings between the two teams, who meet again in March but under the Floridian sun.
It’s been 3 years since the Canucks and the Panthers last played against each other. The Canucks beat the Panthers 2-1 in October 2010. Since then, Obama’s been re-elected, John Tortorella’s been hired, Roberto Luongo lost his starting goaltender job to Cory Schneider, Schneider got traded to the New Jersey Devils, and I’ve grown 2 inches.
The Canucks could use a little pick me up, having lost their last 4 games (0-3-1). They may still be a little bitter too after that controversial disallowed goal on Sunday against the Dallas Stars cost them a point.
If we were looking for positives, the Canucks’ offence has outshot their opponents in 3 of their last 4 games. However, finding the back of the net has been a struggle as they’ve scored exactly 1 goal in each of their last 4 games. Overall, the Canucks are averaging 32.5 shots per game, 3rd in the NHL, disproving the theory that if you keep shooting at the net one is bound to go in.
The Panthers are 2-8-1 on the road. They won their season opener in Dallas, but then lost 9 consecutive road games before winning their most recent outing last Saturday in Colorado. They beat the Avalanche 4-1 and got goals from 4 different players.
Who to Watch
Defenseman Brian Campbell leads the Panthers with 12 points, while forward Brad Boyes leads them with 7 goals, 1 of which was scored on Saturday against the Avs. Campbell, Scottie Upshall and Tom Gilbert all had multi-point games against the Avs.
Dale Weise is expected to return to the Canucks line up after missing 10 games with a knee injury. If anything, Weise on the 4th line provides the team with a physical presence.
Jordan Schroeder (ankle) remains the lone Canuck on injured reserve. He’s not expected back until late December at the earliest.
For the Panthers, former Canuck Ed Jovanovski has a hip injury and is on injured reserve, and Scott Gomez is questionable for tonight with a groin injury (day-to-day).