The banged-up Vancouver Canucks (15-9-6), minus suspended defenseman Alex Edler, will continue their three-game road trip this afternoon when they invade the Staples Center to battle the Los Angeles Kings (17-11-2) for the third and final time this season.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- The Canucks are looking to string together three straight wins for the first time since they won six in a row from January 30 to February 12.
- The Canucks began their three-game road trip exactly the way the wanted on Thursday by eking out a 2-1 win in Phoenix despite playing with a depleted lineup. Their road trip wraps up tomorrow night in Colorado.
- The Canucks were forced to dress seven defensemen on Thursday after F Chris Higgins joined the list of injured Canuck forwards when he tweaked his back at the morning skate. Higgins, however, expects to be back this afternoon. D Chris Tanev, who scored his second career goal on Thursday against the Coyotes, is reportedly nursing a sore right foot but should be good to go as well.
- The Canucks won't have D Alex Edler in their lineup this afternoon, or for tomorrow night's road trip finale in Denver. He was suspended two games by the NHL for his hit on Coyotes' netminder Mike Smith in the second period of Thursday's win. The last time Edler missed a game was April 5, 2011 in Edmonton. That game was the end of a streak of 31 straight games he sat out due to back surgery.
- The Kings are closing out a five-game home stand this afternoon. They had started the home stand winning the first three games before being shut out 2-0 by the Stars on Thursday.
- Today's game marks the third and final regular season meeting between the Canucks and Kings this season. The teams each have one win after the first two meetings although the Canucks have the edge in points with their loss coming in a shootout. Vancouver won 5-2 the last time these teams met back on March 2 at Rogers Arena. Five different Canucks had goals that night and G Cory Schneider made 28 saves on 30 shots in the victory.
- Speaking of Schneider, given his recent run lately, he will be the likely starter for this afternoon's game. His win against the Kings on March 2 was his first career regular season start versus Los Angeles.
- Kings G Jonathan Quick is expected to start this afternoon against the Canucks. He has started the previous two meetings between the teams this season compiling a 1-1-0 record while allowing six goals on a combined 46 shots faced.
- Today's game could be a potential first-round playoff series preview with the Kings and Canucks entering play today sitting in fourth and fifth in the Western Conference standings, respectively. With a win and some help on the out-of-town scoreboard, the Canucks could end this day back on top of the Northwest Division and in third place in the Conference standings.
- According to statisticians at the Jobing.com Arena, the Canucks were hit 50 times by the Coyotes on Thursday which is a season-high hit total by a Vancouver opponent. The previous high by a Canucks opponent was 35 set by the LA Kings back on January 28.
- Canucks D Dan Hamhuis (1-2-3) and F Alex Burrows (1-2-3) share the lead in points among all players in the season series with three each. Kings F Anze Kopitar leads his team with two points, both assists.
- Canucks D Kevin Bieksa is two points shy of recording his 200th career NHL point.
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