The Vancouver Canucks (10-5-4), minus injured forward Ryan Kesler, will try to avoid their third straight loss when they welcome the defending Stanley Cup champions Los Angeles Kings (10-6-2) to Rogers Arena for the first and only time this season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The Canucks begin their second major stretch of the season tonight knowing they'll be without F Ryan Kesler long-term after learning on Wednesday he has a broken right foot that will keep him out for at least a month. Vancouver went 8-2-2 to start the season with Kesler sidelined before his recent short-lived return.
- Newest Canucks F Tom Sestito is expected to make his debut tonight after being claimed on waivers from Philadelphia yesterday. The veteran of 34 career NHL games effectively replaces F Aaron Volpatti, who was lost on waivers to Washington on Thursdays. Sestito has two goals in seven games played this season with the Flyers.
- Canucks D Kevin Bieksa could make his return tonight after missing two games with a groin injury. He re-joined the team in practice yesterday and will be a game-time decision. Vancouver has gone 0-2 this season with Bieksa out of the lineup.
- Tonight marks the second of three meetings between the Canucks and Kings this season, and the first and only trip for the Kings to Rogers Arena this season. In their first match-up this season back on January 28 at the Staples Center, Vancouver squandered a 2-0 lead to drop a 3-2 shootout decision. Kassian and Burrows scored for Vancouver while Carter and Voynov replied for Los Angeles.
- The Kings come into tonight's game riding a season-high five-game win streak. It's their longest win streak since they won eight in a row during last year's playoffs – a streak that stretched from Game 5 of their first round series against the Canucks all the way to Game 3 of their Conference Final series against the Coyotes.
- This is the first trip back to Rogers Arena for the Kings since Game 5 of last year's opening round playoff series where they knocked off the Canucks by a 2-1 score in overtime to finish their stunning series win over Vancouver. The Kings won all three games played at Rogers Arena in that playoff series by a combined 10-5 score.
- The Canucks come into this contest having lost consecutive regulation games for the first time this season. If they fail to win tonight, they would match their season-high winless streak at three games. Vancouver has not lost three straight regulation games since the start of their playoff series last April against the Kings.
- For just the second time this season, Canucks G Cory Schneider will get a start despite coming off a loss in his previous outing. Tonight will be his first career regular season start against the Kings. He started the final three games in the playoff series against the Kings last season posting a 1-2 record with a 1.31 GAA and a .960 save percentage.
- Kings F Jeff Carter brings a team-high five-game point streak into tonight's game (5-1-6). Other notable streaks for the Kings include F Mike Richards' four-game point streak (0-4-4) and F Dwight Kings' three-game point streak (0-3-3).
- A big reason for the Kings' recent turnaround can be attributed to the play of their netminders. Number one goaltender Jonathan Quick has won three straight games giving up only four goals on 74 shots during that stretch while backup Jonathan Bernier has won four straight games surrendering only four goals on 95 shots during that stretch.
- Local hockey fans hoping to give ex-Canuck and current Kings D Willie Mitchell a hero's welcome back to Rogers Arena will be sorely disappointed. The Port McNeill-native, who will be receiving the Best of BC award at Sport BC's Athlete of the Year Awards this coming Thursday, is recovering from knee surgery and has yet to play this season despite the fact he's been medically cleared to return according to the Kings.
- The Canucks are coming off a three-day break which is their longest such rest period of the season. From now until the end of the regular season, they won't have a break longer than two days between games. The Canucks are 4-1-0 this season in game coming off more than one day of rest.
- Tonight's road game for the Kings is sandwiched in the middle of eight home games for the Kings. After tonight's tilt, in Vancouver, the Kings return home for five straight games at the Staples Center.
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