Game 12: Canucks @ Devils (10.24.13)
The first time the two teams clashed 16 days ago back at Rogers Arena, it was Schneider's old mates that got the best of him as the Canucks scored a 3-2 overtime victory to spoil his return to Vancouver. The Devils, led once again by Schneider, will be looking to return the favour tonight to the Canucks. Schneider has started back-to-back games for New Jersey but allowed three goals on 23 shots in a 4-1 loss to Columbus in his last outing on Tuesday – three days after he had led them to their first win of the season by shutting out the New York Rangers.
The Canucks won't worry too much about facing Schneider again tonight as they will be paying more attention to fine-tuning their own game despite the fact they're coming off a 5-4 shootout win over the Islanders on Tuesday. They'll have to do so without the services of Jannik Hansen who has returned to Vancouver to get his upper-body injury assessed. A win would guarantee the Canucks finish with a record greater than .500 on their marathon road trip that comes to an end tomorrow night in St. Louis.
Puck drop at 4 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Go for goals. The Devils may boast two of the best goaltenders by reputation in Schneider and Brodeur but they've been hanging them out dry because they haven't given them much goal support. New Jersey is averaging just two goals per game this season so if Vancouver can manage to put a few in the net tonight, it's unlikely the Devils can keep up.
Avoid a sleepy start. The Canucks can't be thrilled about giving up the opening goal in back-to-back games but they are probably even less happy that they've found themselves trailing less than five minutes into the game in both of those outings. They'll want to avoid a similar start tonight against a Devils team that has been able to get off to strong starts opening the scoring in six of nine games this season.
Schneider steps up. At some point fingers have to be pointed at the Devils' goaltending seeing as how the team has surrendered an average of only 26.6 shots against per game but has allowed 3.11 goals against per game. Schneider will get the call again in net for the Devils and he needs to steal a game.
By the Numbers
Points each for Devils forwards Patrik Elias and Jaromir Jagr back on Oct. 8 against the Canucks.
Consecutive starts for Devils' goalie Cory Schneider including tonight.
Straight wins for the Canucks in head-to-head meetings against the Devils.
Game point streak for Henrik Sedin coming into tonight's game (3-4-7).
Years since the Devils last beat the Canucks on home ice on Jan. 13, 2006. Vancouver is 2-0 in New Jersey since.
Game winless streak for the Devils to begin this season (0-4-3). Their previous club record winless streak to start a season was four.