It doesn’t appear things will get any better for the Carolina Hurricanes in the near future, and facing the Canucks could cause even more damage.
After receiving more bad news regarding its leading scorer and top defenseman, Carolina heads into Thursday night’s matchup with visiting Vancouver hoping to get out of its funk.
The Hurricanes (9-18-5) are 1-7-2 over their last 10 games, including a 1-4-2 mark under new coach Kirk Muller. They fell 2-1 in overtime at Toronto on Tuesday, allowing the winning goal less than a minute into the extra session.
Carolina was dealt a bigger blow Wednesday when it found out Jeff Skinner and Joni Pitkanen will be out indefinitely because of concussions. The 19 year old Skinner leads the team with 12 goals and 24 points despite not playing since scoring Dec. 7 versus Edmonton, the Hurricanes’ only victory this month.
Pitkanen hasn’t played since Dec. 6 against Calgary.
The Hurricanes will need an improved effort against the Canucks (18-10-2), who have earned at least a point in 10 of their last 11 games.
Vancouver has gone 12-3-1 over its last 16 games since starting the season 6-7-1.
The Canucks, though, fell 2-1 in a shootout to league worst Columbus on Tuesday. It marked the first time they were held to fewer than two goals since a 5-1 loss to Chicago on Nov. 16.
Roberto Luongo had another solid night in net, making 28 saves. After backup Cory Schneider shined while the Vezina Trophy finalist was dealing with an upper body injury for the latter half of November, Luongo has gone 4-0-1 with a 1.32 goals against average in five starts since returning.
Hurricanes goaltender Cam Ward has gone 1-2-1 with a 4.59 GAA in five December starts, and he’s 1-2-1 with a 3.47 GAA in four starts lifetime against Vancouver.
Reigning Art Ross Trophy winner Daniel Sedin has one assist in his last three games, though he’s earned one point in seven of nine career games versus the Hurricanes.
Henrik Sedin, who had his five-game point streak snapped Tuesday, has eight assists in nine meetings against Carolina.
Vancouver Canucks – Cory Schenider
Carolina Hurricanes – Cam Ward
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