Canucks host Ducks as NHL season gets under way

{eot} Staff
1/19/2013 7:28:07 PM
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After months of waiting, National Hockey League action officially returns today.

The 2012-13 season kicks off with a slate of 13 games, including five of Canada's seven NHL clubs. And offers up-to-date coverage on Kate McKenna's Live Game Day page as the sprint of the shortened season begins.

Opening night wraps up with the Vancouver Canucks hosting the Anaheim Ducks.

Looking to avenge last season's disappointing opening-round loss to the eventual-Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings, the Canucks enter the 2012-13 season with two starting goalies but missing two-thirds of its expected second line.

The Canucks will need its organizational depth to hold strong as the team faces the prospect of several weeks without both centre Ryan Kesler and winger David Booth.

Luckily, the Canucks still have one of the most potent top lines in the league and have bulked up their scoring potential from the back-end by adding Jason Garrison from Florida this off-season.

While rumours continue to swirl about the eventual parting of ways between the Canucks and Roberto Luongo, the team enters the season with two top-flight netminders.

General manager Mike Gillis has insisted since the end of last season that he had no qualms having Luongo and Cory Schneider both fighting for time in the Canucks crease. It's time to see how that set-up works in real life.

The Ducks, meanwhile, may be entering their last season behind the elite scoring duo of Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

In fact, the Ducks – who finished with the sixth-worst record in the league last season – could be in for a large-scale overhaul if this season is not a success.

In addition to Getzlaf and Perry, Finnish veterans Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu are both unrestricted free agents at season's end. With age a factor for both players, the impetus is on the Ducks to piece together a winner now if they wish to win with all these pieces together.

A bounce-back season from goaltender Jonas Hiller could go a long way to helping the Ducks return to competition in the Western Conference, as could the continued growth of young talent like Cam Fowler, Kyle Palmieri and Devante Smith-Pelly.

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