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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Thursday, October 3rd (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0) at San Jose Sharks (0-0-0), 10 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - After getting swept out of the first round of the 2013 playoffs by the San Jose Sharks, the Vancouver Canucks decided it was time for a change.

That led to the Canucks hiring John Tortorella as their new head coach and he makes his debut on Thursday night against the Sharks.

Vancouver reached the postseason in six of its seven seasons under Alain Vigneault, a run that included six division titles (including the club's fifth straight Northwest title in 2013), back-to-back Presidents Trophies in 2010-11 and 2011-12, and a trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2011. However, last spring marked the Canucks' second straight first-round exit, so general manager Mike Gillis cut bait with Vigneault.

Vigneault landed on his feet with the New York Rangers, who in a twist of fate has fired Tortorella, making him available for the Canucks. The fiery bench boss is expected to toughen up the Canucks and make the club more disciplined.

That includes the talented Sedin twins, Daniel and Henrik, who make their living racking up points. Henrik Sedin led the club with 45 points a season ago, while Daniel was next with 40 points before a big drop-off to Jannik Hansen, who was third on the club with 27 points.

Roberto Luongo will make a some-what surprising start tonight for the Canucks. That didn't seem likely after he opened last season as the backup to Cory Schneider, but after Gillis was unable to trade Luongo and his large contract, Schneider was instead dealt to the New Jersey Devils on draft day.

Luongo did well in the backup role despite playing amidst constant trade rumors and finished 9-6-3 with a 2.56 goals against average and .907 save percentage.

He also went 0-2 with a 2.58 GAA in three playoff games -- two starts -- while Schneider nursed an injury. Although the Canucks were swept by San Jose, the postseason loss could hardly be blamed on Luongo, as Vancouver's offense contributed only eight goals over the four games.

The Canucks are slated to begin the season on the road for only the 13th time in club history, having gone 6-5-1 when kicking off the season as the away club. They won't have Zack Kassian for the first five games of the season as he finishes off his eight-game ban issued during the preseason for a cross- check to the face of Edmonton's San Gagner.

The Sharks will play their first three games of the season at home and are 5-2-1 in their last eight openers. They made the postseason for a ninth straight year and pushed the Los Angeles Kings to seven games before falling in the semifinals.

San Jose opened last season by winning its first seven games, though was plagued by inconsistency afterwards. They'll try to duplicate the fast start, but are without forwards Martin Havlat (groin surgery) and Raffi Torres (torn ACL) while defenseman Brad Stuart is questionable with an unknown injury.

The Sharks appear on the verge of a rebuild, with center Joe Thornton, winger Patrick Marleau and defenseman Dan Boyle all unrestricted free agents at season's end. However, Logan Couture and Joe Pavelski were both signed to five-year extensions this past offseason.

Thornton led the Sharks with 33 assists and 40 points last year, while Couture (21 goals), Marleau and Pavelski all finished with 31 points.

San Jose ranked sixth on defense with 2.33 goals against per game and have a workhorse in net in Antti Niemi.

Niemi started 43 games last season and went 24-12-6 with career bests in GAA (2.16) and save percentage (.924). He appeared in 2,580:46 of ice time to lead all NHL goaltenders while earning his first Vezina Trophy nomination.

In addition to the first-round sweep, the Sharks won all three of their regular-season meetings with the Canucks last season. The clubs face off tonight as division rivals, with Vancouver having joined San Jose in the new- look Pacific Division following realignment.

10/03 14:30:58 ET

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Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia «4Final | Box
NY Rangers2Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Detroit1Final | Box
Boston «4Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Tampa Bay2Final | Box
Montreal «3Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Montreal leads series, 3-0.
Los Angeles2Final | Box
San Jose «7Rink Replay
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. San Jose leads series, 2-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CLE 6
TOR 4
Final
DET 2
ANA 1
Final
NYM 4
ATL 3
Final
MIA 3
SEA 2
Final
PIT 2
MIL 3
Final
WAS 3
STL 2
Final
TAM 1
NYY 5
Final
KAN 3
MIN 8
Final
CHC 2
CIN 8
Final
TEX 2
CWS 16
Final
OAK 4
HOU 1
Final
LOS 4
ARI 1
Final
COL 9
PHI 10
Final
SDP 3
SFG 4
Final
BOS 6
BAL 5
11:05am Today
BOS
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
MIA
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
8:40pm Tonight
COL
SFG
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
TEX
 
10:10pm Tonight
SEA
HOU
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
SAN 90
DAL 85
Final
MIA 99
CHA 88
Final
CHI 93
WAS 102
Final
HOU 120
POR 122
8:00pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
10:30pm Tonight
LAC
GSW
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
Final
BOS 4
DET 1
Final
MON 3
TAM 2
Final
SJS 7
LOS 2
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
COL
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
9:30pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
Final
NOR 6
DUR 3
 
12:05pm Today
NOR
DUR