It's been 273 days since the Vancouver Canucks (0-0-0) last stepped onto the ice at Rogers Arena for a meaningful contest but the longest off-season in recent memory will finally come to an end tonight when they open the 2012.13 season by welcoming the Anaheim Ducks (0-0-0) to town.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
-The Canucks begin their season with their roster largely intact from last season (outside of injured players) with the notable exceptions of D Aaron Rome (signed with Dallas), D Sami Salo (signed with Tampa Bay) and F Samuel Pahlsson (signed with MoDo in SEL).
-The Canucks and Ducks split the 2011-12 season series with each team winning twice. The Ducks earned a bonus point from a shootout loss in their last head-to-head meeting.
-The last netminder not named Roberto Luongo to start a season opener for the Canucks was Dan Cloutier on October 5, 2005. He made 30 saves on 32 shots and was named second star in a 3-2 Vancouver win over Phoenix.
-Vancouver is winless in their last three season openers (0-1-2). They are also winless in their last three home openers (0-1-2).
-Anaheim has lost their last five season openers (0-5-0) and is winless in their last five road openers (0-4-1).
-Ex-Duck Max Lapierre had a big night the last time Vancouver met Anaheim back on April 3, 2012. He scored once in regulation and added a shootout marker as the Canucks knocked off the Ducks 5-4. Alex Burrows also had two goals that game.
-The Canucks were 6-4-1 in the first game of back-to-backs last season. They host the Oilers tomorrow night at Rogers Arena.
-Andrew Ebbett and Zack Kassian combined for 14 goals and 41 points in the AHL this season with the Chicago Wolves. They will likely make up two-thirds of Vancouver's second line and skate alongside scrimmage superstar Mason Raymond (natural hat trick on Thursday) in the absence of Kesler and Booth.
-Not to say the Canucks won't miss Ryan Kesler or David Booth, but it's worth noting they went 2-2-1 in games without Kesler last season and 12-4-2 in games without Booth (after he was acquired from Florida).
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