After surviving a successful road trip the Vancouver Canucks are back in the comfortable confines of Rogers Arena to take on the Washington Capitals tonight.
The Canucks went 5-1-1 on their latest lengthy journey but also lost four forwards in the process, meaning a number of depth players will need to step up moving forward.
Below are five keys to tonight’s game for the road-weary Canucks.
Contain The Great Eight
Alex Ovechkin remains one of the NHL’s most explosive players, and through 11 games this season the Great Eight leads the league in scoring with 10 goals. The Canucks must do their best to contain the aggressive and exciting Ovechkin in what is their eighth game in eight cities tonight in Vancouver.
OV has 3 goals and 1 assist through three appearances in Vancouver during his NHL career.
Luongo Locked In
Roberto Luongo will be needed for a big game tonight in Vancouver after splitting back-to-back contests with Eddie Lack over the weekend. Luongo posted a 4-0-1 record on the Canucks’ recent road trip and has been solid to start the year despite his reputation for rust.
Look for Luongo to win the goaltending battle tonight.
Holtby Fired Up
Brayden Holtby was pulled from Saturday’s game with the Flames after allowing 3 goals on 14 shots and wasn’t happy about it at all. After taking a couple days to cool down Holtby is expected to start again tonight, but the Canucks can’t let him get back into his comfort zone.
Holtby was on a three-game winning streak before Saturday’s meltdown.
Kesler Keeps Rolling
Ryan Kesler found his stride on the Canucks’ recent road trip and will need to keep the good times rolling back on home ice. Kesler was named the NHL’s third star of the week after putting up four goals and two assists through three games, and will need to continue that pace as home as forward depth disappears all around him.
Burrows A Boost
Alex Burrows will return to the lineup tonight after missing 12 games after blocking a shot during the Canucks’ season opener with the San Jose Sharks.
While Burrows mentioned to the media that he would like to get a practice in before jumping into a game situation it’s clear the “tough” times are here for Tortorella and the Canucks.