What's at stake
Nobody knows the troubles I've seen?
Don't tell that to the Vancouver Canucks, who have no difficulty relating to the schedule faced by the Carolina Hurricanes so far.
Those Canes started the season in Finland, where they came up with two good wins over Minnesota, then lost to Ottawa in a close one on Thursday.
That was the start of a five-game road swing (they don't get home until Oct. 27) that now brings the big wind to the Left Coast to play the Canucks on Sunday night before heading to San Jose and Los Angeles.
By the Numbers
- Last four in Vancouver: 0-2-2
- Last eight in Vancouver: 1-5-2
- Last win in Vancouver: Oct. 15, 1999
- Last eight at home vs. Carolina: 7-1
- Last 13 at home against East: 12-1
- Goals per game last year: 3.27
- Goals per game this year: 1.75
Face off: 6 p.m. PT at the Rogers Arena
Vancouver had things even worse last winter when the arrival of the Olympics in town sent the boys on a 14-game road trip that, with the break for the Games, totalled six weeks.
However, there are other things on the minds of the Canucks in the early going, starting with a bad 4-1 loss in Los Angeles on Friday that left them 1-2-1 with just seven goals in four games.
Last year they were best in the West with a 3.27 goals per game average.
Especially cold is the line of Ryan Kesler, Mason Raymond and Jannik Hansen — they have exactly nothing so far.
Players to watch
Eric Staal — Heart and soul guy needs six goals to become the fourth player in Carolina/Hartford history to reach 200 career.
Daniel Sedin — October has never been a good month for the other Sedin, but this time he's off to a quick start with three goals. That's more than the last two Octobers combined.
Cam Ward (2-1) — 3 games, 103 saves (.936), 2.28 goals against
He's been sharp so far, though coach Paul Maurice has been worried the team is relying too much on its talented backstop.
Roberto Luongo (1-2) — 4 games, 115 saves (.920), 2.46 goals against
Started the season on fire with a 1.00 GAA average in the first two games but gave up four goals on 19 shots on Friday.
Carolina put Sergei Samsonov back in the lineup on Thursday after recovering from a minor neck injury. Other than that, the Hurricanes are surprisingly healthy, given the schedule.
Vancouver defenceman Keith Ballard is out with a concussion, while centre Alec Bolduc is out four to six weeks with a bad ankle.
"I don't think you'll find anybody using that as an excuse." — Carolina goaltender Cam Ward on the tough schedule faced by his club.
"Obviously right now a couple of our guys are trying real hard to get going and it's not going obviously the way that they'd like to." — Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault.