It was a slump busting night on Sunday as several Canucks got on the board against the jet lagged Hurricanes. Mason Raymond, Ryan Kesler and Mikael Samuelsson all got on the scoresheet for the first time this season. Finally some secondary scoring.
Alain Vigneault's line juggling paid off. Ryan Kesler had his best game of the season leading all forwards with over 20 minutes of ice time. Raymond seemed to fit in well with the Sedins (who doesn't) and it should be interesting to see how long AV sticks with that line. The third line got an offensive boost with Samuelsson on the wing and Manny Malhotra was an absolutely dominating 94% in the faceoff circle including 11 for 12 in the defensive zone.
Cory Schneider made a rare home start for a Canuck backup and was very solid. It was a great decision to get Schneider into a home game early in the season and more importantly the timing of facing a tired Carolina squad was a perfect way of allowing Cory to gain the confidence of his teammates and to a lesser extent the home fans. It's easy to say you want to play the backup more, but actually being able to do it is something that isn't always easy to do. The standings in the NHL are always tight, every point counts, so it's hard not to go with Luongo when you really need the 2pts. So far Schneider looks capable of taking some of those key starts.
The Canucks are now off on their toughest road test to date as they face the Wild and Blackhawks on back to back nights. Obviously most are looking forward to the matchup against the Blackhawks, so it will be important for the Canucks not to overlook the Minnesota Wild tonight.
Tonight's game is the first on the Sportsnet Vancouver channel (aka Sportsnet One). More info on tonight's game and lineup later in the day...