Canucks hope to ride momentum into game vs. ‘Canes
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The hype meter is turned down.
However, Vancouver coach Travis Green wants the Canucks (13-10-4) to show the same motivation against the Carolina Hurricanes (11-9-5) on Tuesday night as they did Saturday in an inspired win over the Toronto Maple Leafs before a sellout crowd and a national television audience.
“Some nights are big games,” Green said after a practice Monday. “Saturday night against the Leafs, you know it’s gonna be a big game. It doesn’t mean it’s not a bigger game for us against Carolina.”
Like the Leafs, the Hurricanes rarely visit Vancouver. The implications will be much lower than they were when the Canucks eked out a 2-1 win with many in the crowd wearing Leafs jerseys.
But even with few if any fans sporting Carolina sweaters, Green is confident that the Canucks can get up for the Hurricanes.
“Inside our walls, every game is a big game, and we treat it that way,” he said.
However, Green indicated that he wants the Canucks to provide a better performance than they did while staking claim to a 2-0 first-period lead and then holding on to edge the Leafs after being badly outshot in the final 40 minutes.
“We had an exciting game against Toronto,” Green said. “We found a way to win. It was great for the city and, for hockey in general, it was a fun game to watch. Were we great? … We weren’t great.”
The Canucks have won two straight, while the Hurricanes have lost two of their past three games and are 5-4-1 in their past 10 outings. Although the atmosphere at Rogers Arena will be distinctly different from Saturday’s raucous environment, Canucks winger Thomas Vanek expects the Hurricanes to provide the same battle level as the Leafs.
“I think they’re one of the better teams in the East,” Vanek said. “I think that they’re deep. They create a ton (of offense). Their (defense) is really balanced. Line-wise, it’s going to be very similar to Toronto. They make plays all over the ice.”
Canucks center Bo Horvat added, “They’ve obviously gotten younger, and I think they’ve gotten a lot faster. And I think they have four lines that can skate and that can play hockey. We’ve gotta have guys that can match them, guys that can play against all four lines. If we can stick to our structure, play fast (and) stick to our game plan, we’ll be all right.”
The game will be the second of 10 home games in December for the Canucks, compared to only three on the road. Horvat wants the Canucks to show more heart at home, where they are only 4-5-3.
“We need to get the job done at home here,” Horvat said. “We’ve had lots of success on the road (9-5-1). We need to start winning some games here.”
The Hurricanes hope to deliver a spirited effort similar to their last outing — a 3-2 overtime win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
“If we can get that emotional engagement into our game, it’s going to help us,” Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said after a practice Monday in Vancouver. “Every scenario was outstanding. Guys were dialed in. Guys were passionate.”
Since Carolina does not face Vancouver often, Peters said he and his coaching staff had to do their homework on the Canucks and study the different things that they display under first-year coach Green, who emphasizes the need for speed.
“They beat Nashville in Nashville, which is tough to do, and then (they) had a real good game on Hockey Night in Canada against Toronto,” Peters said. “So we have real good video of how they play, and we feel comfortable with what we’re gonna present to our guys (Tuesday) in our meetings — and put our best foot forward.”
The Tuesday contest is the first on a six-game road trip for the Hurricanes, who came west a day early in a bid to ensure that fatigue is not a factor against the Canucks.
“It helps you get the body clock readjusted, especially flying out here,” Peters said. “We’ll be in the Pacific time zone for quite a while here, and then we end up in Buffalo. So it’ll help us get acclimated sooner than later.”
Peters called the Hurricanes, who are 5-5-2 away from Raleigh, a “good road team.” Winger Jeff Skinner said they need establish their road game early against the Canucks as they use the lengthy trip to gain ground on Eastern Conference rivals.
“We want to get that good feeling as a group and have success,” Skinner said. “So (Tuesday) night is a good opportunity for us to do that.”