The Vancouver Canucks are pulling out of a slow start to the season, and they feel the addition of David Booth may expedite that process.
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is looking to continue his own impressive start for the Edmonton Oilers - and stay in the NHL.
Booth is expected to make his debut for the Canucks on Tuesday night, when they try to solve Nugent-Hopkins and beat the Oilers again to record their first three-game winning streak of 2011-12.
Vancouver dropped four of its first six, including being shut out twice, before combining for eight goals in consecutive wins.
Coming off a 3-2 overtime victory versus Minnesota on Saturday, the Canucks (4-3-1) are looking for Booth to help them get rolling. They acquired him along with Steven Reinprecht and a third-round draft pick in 2013 from Florida for forwards Marco Sturm and Mikael Samuelsson following the win.
Reinprecht was sent to Chicago of the AHL on Monday.
"It's an opportunity to have a top-six forward and a left winger to play with Ryan Kesler," general manager Mike Gillis said of Booth. "We were looking to try to get a little bit younger and a little quicker. This should give us an opportunity for a little more balance."
Booth is trying to shake off his own rough start. He had one assist in six games with the Panthers after leading them with 23 goals last season.
He thinks the move can rejuvenate his career as he tries to regain the form that led to him registering career highs of 31 goals and 29 assists three seasons ago. Booth was limited to 28 games in 2009-10 due to a pair of concussions.
"I feel like I can get back there and can get even higher," Booth told the Canucks' official website. "I'm playing with some good players now and that's something that I think comes with time."
Booth is expected to join Kesler and Chris Higgins, his teammate at Florida last season, on the second line. Higgins has three goals and two assists, while Kesler has one goal after netting a career-high 42 in 2010-11.
"If you've got two lines that can produce offensively and if you've got two other lines that can wear down the opposition and spend time in their end, it makes it a lot more challenging for the opposition and that's what we're hoping to get," coach Alain Vigneault said.
Nugent-Hopkins is making an immediate impact for the Oilers (3-2-2), leading them with five goals and seven points. The top pick in last summer's draft scored three of those goals in a 4-3 loss to Vancouver on Oct. 15.
The 18-year-old center scored another goal before setting up Corey Potter's first of the season in Saturday's 2-0 win over the New York Rangers.
With two games to go before Nugent-Hopkins reaches the nine-game threshold that would start his three-year, entry-level contract, the Oilers haven't made a decision on whether to send him back to his junior team.
"I don't really worry about it. I just try to take it day by day," Nugent-Hopkins said. "Right now, I'm here so I'm happy. I'm just doing everything I can to stay here, and I'm just going to keep doing that until I get told whether I am or whether I'm not."
Nikolai Khabibulin may get another start as he's making a strong case to become Edmonton's No. 1 goaltender. He stopped 19 shots Saturday to improve to 2-0-2 with a 0.72 goals-against average.
Devan Dubnyk has dropped his last two games, including a 22-save performance against Vancouver.
Sami Salo's goal for the Canucks in the third period provided the difference in that meeting. The 37-year-old defenseman came up big again Saturday, scoring with 20.8 seconds left in OT.
His three goals have already tied his total from last season when injuries limited him to 27 games.
The Canucks have won nine of the last 12 meetings with the Oilers, and Roberto Luongo has won seven of his last nine with a 2.01 GAA. He's likely to be back in net after backup Cory Schneider beat the Wild.