Recent struggles may have the Vancouver Canucks and Carolina
Hurricanes looking forward to a new month.
Only one of them, however, will get December off to a positive
The Canucks will try to win for just the third time in 11 tries
Sunday when they continue a four-game road trip against the
Vancouver (13-10-5) went 4-5-4 in November, capping it with
Sunday’s 5-2 loss to the New York Rangers in coach John
Tortorella’s first meeting with the team that fired him last
“Once the game starts, it’s about playing and trying to find a
way to get a win,” Tortorella told the team’s official website.
“That’s my job, to try to get some traction with this hockey club.
Once that starts, it’s just, ‘Let’s go.'”
Consistent scoring could solve Vancouver’s woes. The team is
averaging 2.61 goals on the season, and 2.2 over the last 10 games
while scoring more than two only twice during that stretch.
The Canucks may get some sympathy from the Hurricanes (10-11-5),
who are 29th in the NHL with 2.08 goals per game. They also
concluded a 6-6-2 November with a defeat, allowing four
third-period goals in a 5-2 home loss to New Jersey on Friday.
The Hurricanes haven’t managed more than back-to-back wins at
any point this season, and that lack of consistency is a major
concern for coach Kirk Muller.
“If anything, we just have to learn that if you want to be
better than a .500 team, you have to be good all the time,” Muller
told the team’s official website. “You get out of it what you put
Eric Staal, the team leader with six goals and 18 points, looks
to get back to doing his part after being held without a point
Friday. The center had nine points during a season-high seven-game
“Eric’s really picked up his pace. His pace is quicker now. He’s
going more direct. He’s faster, he’s angrier and he’s got his
confidence again,” Muller said. “When he’s going like that, now he
looks like a power forward who’s tough to contain.”
That hasn’t been the case in his last two meetings with the
Canucks, as Staal hasn’t managed a point. However, he had six over
the previous five matchups.
It’s unclear if the Canucks will turn to Roberto Luongo in net
after he was pulled 17 seconds into the second period Sunday for
giving up three goals on 10 shots.
“It’s always hard to either get pulled or to give up a lot of
goals,” said Luongo, who was making his season-high eighth straight
start. “I’ve just got to be better and try to come up with more
He hasn’t done much of that in his career at Carolina, going
1-10-0 with two ties and a 2.76 goals-against average in 13
That may be enough for Tortorella to start rookie Eddie Lack,
who stopped 12 of 14 shots in relief of Luongo on Sunday. The Swede
is 2-2-0 with a 2.49 GAA in six games – four starts.
Daniel Sedin has been an offensive bright spot for the Canucks,
tallying three goals and five assists during a five-game point
streak after enduring a six-game drought. The left wing has a point
in seven of nine career games against the Hurricanes, including
three of four at PNC Arena.
Vancouver has dropped three straight in Carolina since a 3-2
victory on Nov. 27, 2002.