Corey Perry and the Anaheim Ducks travel to Vancouver on Saturday for the Canucks’ home opener.
Photograph by: Harry How, Getty Images
VANCOUVER — The “fab five” — as it were — Canucks games you won’t want to miss this season:
1. Jan. 19 vs. Anaheim: The Ducks probably aren’t the marquee matchup many Canucks fans would have hoped for on opening night. But given the fact this is opening night and the frustration hockey fans have been put through the past few months, this will be a big game. Cory Schneider starts a new goaltending era as he begins his reign as starter and ageless wonder Teemu Selanne is back for another season with the Ducks. There will be some buzz in the building. And if you’re there don’t forget about the $1 soft drinks, popcorn and nachos. Unfortunately, beer will still be $9.
2. Jan. 28 at Los Angeles: This will be the first opportunity for the Canucks to exact a little payback against the Stanley Cup champions, who eliminated Vancouver in just five games in the first round of last season’s playoffs. The Kings may not be at full strength for this one. Star centre Anze Kopitar suffered a knee injury while playing in Sweden during the lockout and has just started skating with a brace on his knee. Former Canuck defenceman Willie Mitchell is also out with a knee injury following off-season surgery.
3. Feb. 1 vs. Chicago: This is the matchup most Canuck fans would have preferred to see on opening night. The Hawks and Canucks seem to have a way of bringing out the best in one another. A little hatred will do that. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane & Co. really don’t like the Canucks and the feeling is mutual. Dave Bolland, perhaps the most hated Hawk, figures to be in his new role as the Blackhawks’ second-line centre. Perhaps Ryan Kesler will make his return to help Bolland feel right at home. Probably safe to say The Roxy will be staying open late after this one.
4. Feb. 24 at Detroit: The Canucks will close out a four-game road trip at one of their favourite places: Joe Louis Arena. The Canucks and Wings have staged some classics at The Joe over the years. Their styles seem to complement one another. Both teams play the game the right way and the result is usually some highly entertaining hockey. Some think the Wings won’t be the same without retired defenceman Nicklas Lidstrom and Tomas Holmstrom won’t be around to park himself in the opposition crease, but with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen Detroit still has lots of firepower. Former Canuck Mikael Samuelsson has returned for his second stint in the Motor City.
5. April 27 vs. Edmonton: OK, perhaps this is a strange choice, but this figures to be a strange season. In a 48-game sprint, there’s a good chance the final regular-season game of the season could have some serious meaning. Perhaps the Canucks will need a win to clinch another Presidents’ Trophy. Perhaps the Canucks will need a win to make the playoffs. Who knows. And will the young Oiler stars such as Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, Jordan Eberle, Nail Yakupov and Justin Schultz have done enough to get Edmonton into the playoffs for the first time in an eternity?
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