The Canucks finished last season with a 51-22-9 record, good enough for a second straight regular season title. The regular season success didn’t translate into the playoffs though, as the Canucks were ousted in five games by the eventual Stanley Cup champions, the LA Kings.
Injuries are a concern for the Canucks heading into the season. The team will be without second liners Ryan Kesler and David Booth. Kesler is still recovering from a pair of off-season surgeries and it’s undetermined when he’ll be able to return, while Booth strained his groin on the first day of training camp and will miss four to six weeks.
The second line tonight will likely consist of Andrew Ebbett in between Mason Raymond and Zach Kassian.
White Rock native Jason Garrison will be making his Canucks debut after signing a six-year deal with the club in the off-season. Garrison will pair up with Alex Edler on the Canucks top defensive pairing.
Coach Alain Vigneault is yet to make an official announcement, but the expectation is that Cory Schneider will begin his reign as the team’s starting goalie tonight. Roberto Luongo has started the past six season openers for Vancouver.
The Canucks will be showing fans appreciation for their patience during the lockout. A season ticket holder will have the honour of dropping the ceremonial face-off, while the team will give away the game-worn jerseys following the final horn. There will also be numerous giveaways and discounts available.
Vancouver Police Constable Brian Montague says the force is stepping up patrol for the game, but it’s no different from how officers handle Lions and Whitecaps matches.
“Depending on the event, it varies in the number of officers we have. The number that we will have is something we don’t discuss, but we will have a number of officers there to make sure that any problems we may or may not have are dealt with.”
There will be some traffic closures around the arena.
Puck drop at Rogers Arena is 7 p.m.