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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Game 3 - Vancouver Canucks @ Carolina Hurricanes

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Canucks look to avoid second straight loss, and third straight loss in Raleigh

NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Carolina Hurricanes
Michael Del Zotto scored against the Hurricanes last season, but he could find himself in the press box before the game tonight.
James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks (1-1-0) @ Carolina Hurricanes (2-0-1)

PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC

When: 4:00 p.m. PST

Where to Watch: Sportsnet Canucks

Where to Listen: SN 650

Opposition Blog: Canes Country

After winning seven straight games against Carolina, the Canucks have hit a snag against the up-and-coming Canes. Even our win against them last year felt like a loss.

Last year when Carolina visited the Canucks, Jacob Markstrom got his first career shutout in a 3-0 win. At that point the Canucks sat fourth in the division and were clinging onto the final Wild Card spot.

In the loss however, the Canes threw grease onto the Canucks loose playoff grasp, as they tumbled down the standings following that matchup.

Bo Horvat was lost to injury with a fractured ankle in the contest, and the Canucks proceeded to go 4-12-4 in his absence. Not that you like to see anybody get injured, but perhaps it was a blessing in disguise for this team that was never in a position to compete during the postseason (don’t tell Jim Benning).

The Canucks lost a forgettable 4-1 contest against the Canes last February, but the more memorable matchup at the PNC Arena occurred in December of 2016. That was when the Canucks lost a wild 8-6 affair with Erik Gudbranson, Ben Hutton and Nikita Tryamkin all getting burned for multiple goals against.

The Canucks

Forwards

Brendan Leipsic - Bo Horvat - Brock Boeser

Nikolay Goldobin - Elias Pettersson - Loui Eriksson

Sven Baertschi - Brandon Sutter - Jake Virtanen

Tim Schaller - Jay Beagle - Markus Granlund

Defence

Alex Edler - Chris Tanev

Ben Hutton - Troy Stecher

Derrick Pouliot - Erik Gudbranson

Projected Starter: Jacob Markstrom (1-1-0, 3.52 GAA, .900 save percentage)

After suffering their first loss of the season, Travis Green continues his veteran purge of the roster.

Well, on defence at least.

Based on the lines from Monday’s practice, Ben Hutton will draw into the lineup in place of Michael Del Zotto. Green shuffled the defence by putting Alex Edler and Chris Tanev on a pairing, Hutton with Troy Stecher while Del Zotto was paired with Alex Biega.

This would be the first game that Del Zotto has missed as a Canuck, after being the only player other than Henrik Sedin to play in all 82 games. It’s something should have happened last season when Hutton was being scratched. Del Zotto had more points, but all the underlying numbers pointed to Hutton being a better defender.

The leash is certainly short for Hutton, and he must make the most of his opportunity. Green has willingly sat him in the past and surely won’t hesitate to do it again.

Up front, Brendan Leipsic takes Sven Baertschi’s spot on the top line after Horvat’s unit has started slowly. It hasn’t mattered with Elias Pettersson stealing the show, and the Canucks are still playing good entertaining, tank-mode hockey by scoring lots while allowing lots of goals.

Tim Schaller also could make is Canucks debut tonight in place of Tyler Motte. Motte was a preseason darling, but his ice time dropped from 21:45 to 12:08 in Saturday against Calgary.

The Canes

Forwards

Micheal Ferland - Sebastian Aho - Teuvo Teravainen

Warren Foegele - Jordan Staal - Justin Williams

Brock McGinn - Martin Necas - Phillip Di Giuseppe

Jordan Martinook - Lucas Wallmark - Andrei Svechnikov

Defence

Jaccob Slavin - Dougie Hamilton

Calvin de Haan - Justin Faulk

Trevor van Riemsdyk - Brett Pesce

Projected Starter: Curtis McElhinney (1-0-0, 1.00 GAA, .969 save percentage)

Speaking of scoring lots, the Hurricanes are coming off of an 8-5 win over the New York Rangers in a high-octane, offence-filled affair.

It was the daunting Foegele - Staal - Williams line that did most of the damage in that matchup. Each player had three points, including young Foegele who had two goals and an assist.

The Canes boast a number of young, talented and promising offensive players. That includes under-the-radar guys like Foegele and Lucas Wallmark, established players such as Sebastian Aho and Teuvo Teravainen, along with rookies Martin Necas and Andrei Svechnikov.

The latter scored his first goal in the NHL against the Rangers on Saturday night. It wasn’t as pretty as Pettersson’s, but it was the game-winner. Svechnikov now has three points in three games, and it’s safe to say that he won’t be a fourth-line winger for long.

Carolina has played three good games so far this season, and they’ve registered at least 35 shots on net in those three contests. That includes two games with more than 40 shots against weak defensive squads in Brooklyn (Long Island?) and New York.

Game Day Battle Hymn

Here’s cheesy Battle Hymn segway #1 of the season.

Against the upstart Carolina Hurricanes, the Canucks are going to have a mountain to climb. The Canes have pelted 40+ shots against weak defensive teams this season and guess what, the Canucks fall firmly into that category.

Keep an eye on that Hutton and Stecher pairing. They might have a short leash if things get ugly early.

Can the Canucks climb that mountain and upset the Hurricanes? They are facing Curtis McElhinney, who’s been good against the Canucks in the past.

See you at 4:00 p.m. folks.

Lines courtesy of Left Wing Lock.