|Time||7:00 PM PST
|Season Series||(2009/10) 3-0-1 Canucks
4-2 Canucks (2010 Playoffs: 04-25-10)
|The Enemy||Jewels From The Crown, Battle of California||Scoring Leaders||(2009/10 season) H. Sedin: 29-83-112 Kopitar: 34-47-81
||Goals Per Game||3.27 (2)
||Least Goals Against Per Game||2.66 (12)
||5 On 5 GF/GA||1.24 (2)
||Power Play %
|80.3 (20)||Penalty Kill %
||Shots Per Game||30.9 (10)
||Least Shots Against Per Game||29.5 (11)
||Winning % When Scoring First||79.5 (4)
||Winning % When Leading After 1||83.9 (4)
||Winning % When Trailing After 1||41.9 (7)
||Winning % When Leading After 2||97.0 (2)
||Winning % When Trailing After2||31.4 (2)
||Faceoffs %||51.4 (5)
||Least PIM's Per Game||15.5 (26)
||+ / - GF/GA (see here)
Update (1:06 PM): hat tip to missy: Botchford has just tweeted that the Canucks will unveil their new captain on Hockey Night in Canada tonight.
Update (12:15 PM): Both teams will be wearing their old, old school retro jerseys tonight: numbers with no name plates, tweets Dan Murphy. Willie Mitchell will wear #33 because he thinks he's Patrick Roy. Actually, he explains why he chose #33 and discusses much more here (video).
Kind of difficult to post comparative stats at the beginning of the year, but I need to start somewhere. Of all the teams to play in the first game of the regular season it' had to be the Kings, the first team the Canucks ever played in the NHL history. This is a team that caused us fits in round 1 of the playoffs, especially on our PK, which completely fell apart, sinking the Canucks to the League basement in that category for the duration of the playoffs. Yes it really was that bad. Still gives me nausea just thinking about it. The other twist to this game 1 saga is, of course, Willie Mitchell's return to Vancouver, in a different jersey. Damn it! Combine the Kings' anger from the Canucks ousting them from the playoffs, plus Willie Mitchell's (no doubt) motivation to prove to Vancouver that letting him go was not a wise move and we have a great storyline right off the hop. Much more after the jump:
CHANGES / LINES:
The Canucks made a slew of personnel changes and now boast a team that is stronger in all areas, with the goaltending being the big scrutinizing point (obviously). Aside from that we will now find out how Raffi Torres fares on line 2 with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond. I'm not too concerned with the top line of the Sedins and Mikael Samuelsson. They should be just fine. Line 3 is the biggy for me. Peter Schaefer-Manny Malhotra-Jannik Hansen (?). There's a decent checking line if I ever saw one in Vancouver. It has the making to erase the Kyle Wellwood-Steve Bernier combo of last year and hopefully play more PK minutes and score more, even short-handed. Line 4 has me excited as well, with Alexandre Bolduc centering Guillaume Desbiens and either Tanner Glass (if he is healthy) or Jeff Tambellini, who was called up from the Moose yesterday just in case.
The Kings did not make a lot of changes as they hope to improve from within. Willie Mitchell will play with Norris Trophy candidate Drew Doughty on the top unit. Jack Johnson is supposed to pair up with Rob Scuderi. The 3rd pairing is rumored to be Jake Muzzin and David Drewiske. Matt Greene is sidelined with a shoulder injury and won't be ready for a few more weeks.
Up front: Anze Kopitar (who is predicted to have a huge year)-Dustin Brown-Ryan (effing) Smyth, Brad Richardson-Jarret Stoll-Justin Williams (who really needs to avoid the injury bug), Alexei Ponikarovsky (who replaced the departed Alexander Frolov)-Michal Handzus-Wayne Simmonds, and young 4th line Kyle Clifford-Brayden Schenn-Kevin Westgarth. Scott Parse is out with a groin injury.
The Kings are not going to be content with a playoff appearance this year. They are thinking Stanley Cup now. Personally I think this is a great team that can do a lot of damage this season.
LA Kings info source: Rich Hammond at LAKings.com.
It's gotta be a Roberto Luongo-Jonathan Quick goaltender battle tonight. Are you ready Lou?
40th ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION
-All kinds of festivities will take place at Rogers Arena to celebrate the Canucks' 40th anniversary. Read about those events here. It is going to be a celebration that you don't want to miss. Hopefully CBC airs the entirety of the celebrations on-ice. Should be a great.
-Will they unveil it pre game or earlier in the day? Either way we have had the scoop for weeks (h/t ShiftySC, right?). Henrik Sedin will be named the new captain.
THE IMPORTANCE OF THE SEDINS
Well, allow me to focus solely on Hank. The Canucks were 41-16-5 when Hanky boy registered a point. They were 8-13-0 when he did not register a point. My math is off by one game but you get my drift. The Canucks need more scoring from the other lines!! And at a more consistent basis too because you know the checkers will be all over those guys this season. It's also just a matter of if they can stop them as well. Those Twins sure are shifty and tricky!
LONG LIVE LARSCHEID!
This will be the final game doing color commentary for legend Tom Larscheid. I am going to miss him as much as I still miss Jim Robson, no offense to John Shorthouse, who is phenomenal. I wonder if/how Larscheid gets some recognition during the evening. He had better!
SCORE PREDICTING WIZARDS
OK, we did this for most of last year. What happens here is that in the comments section of these game previews, you can predict the score, the winning team and the game winning goal scorer. The rules on this competition are on the lower left sidebar on the main page where it states: The winner last season was cyxj with 22 points (bugger). Score-predicting will begin October 8th. You get 1 point for predicting the correct score, 2 points for predicting the correct score AND team and a bonus point if you predict the correct game winning goal scorer. No points attained by only predicting the correct winning team. Got it? Good. You can predict the same score, team and player as somebody else as well. Please keep the predictions in the Preview threads. It's a tough task going through all the predictions. If you post it elsewhere I won't count it. A leaderboard will be continually updated on the lower left sidebar on the main page.
How about a pump up video from samjam99 from CDC? Hell yes!
This post will be updated with any late breaking roster / other news.
Enjoy the festivities and the game! GO CANUCKS GO!!! Thank the good lord hockey is back!!