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Insider Only Stat Packed Penguins @ Canucks Pre-Game Buzz & Notes

Regular Season Game 1

Pittsburgh Penguins @ Vancouver Canucks
When: 10:00 p.m. | Where: Rogers Arena
TV: VERSUS Network | Radio: 105.9 The X
Referees: Kyle Rehman (37), Brad Watson (23) Linesmen: Lonnie Cameron (74), Vaughan Rody (73)

Pens Game Notes

*A potential Cup Preview? The Penguins and Vancouver Canucks begin the 2011-12 regular season (10 p.m.; TV: VERSUS Network; Radio: 105.9 the X) at Rogers Arena in the only meeting of the season between the teams.
*Tonight’s matchup marks the second time these two teams have played a season opener against one another. Pittsburgh defeated
Vancouver, 9-5, on Oct. 6, 1976 at the Civic Arena. In that game, Rick Kehoe recorded a hat trick for the Penguins, while Vancouver’s
Rick Blight had a four-goal night.
*Pittsburgh won the only meeting between the teams last year, 3-1 on Nov. 17, 2010 at CONSOL Energy Center. Sidney Crosby, Arron Asham and Maxime Talbot scored for Pittsburgh, and Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 29 of 30 shots to earn the win. The win was the first of 11 straight victories for the Penguins through Dec. 11.
*Pittsburgh is looking to win its road opener for the fourth straight season (W 3-1 vs NJ, 10/11/10 | W 4-3 vs NYI 10/3/09 | W 2-1 vs Boston 10/20/08)
Tonight is the first season opener on the road since 2007-2008 season. The Penguins have won four of their past five road openers
dating back to 2006. – The Penguins are 18-19-6 all-time in season openers and 18-17-8 all-time in road openers.
This three-game road swing to begin the year marks just the second time in team history that the Penguins have begun a season with
three straight road games. The only other instance occurred Jan. 20-25, 1995 during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign. That
year the Penguins defeated Tampa Bay (5-3), Florida (6-5) and the New York Rangers (3-2) to begin the season 3-0 en route to seven
consecutive victories to begin the season.
*Pittsburgh is 8-9-2 all-time in season-opening games played on the road.
*The Penguins had a strong preseason, going 5-1. The Penguins’ 10 points were the most in the Eastern Conference.
A team that has high expectations defensively, the Penguins ranked among the league leaders, allowing just 11 goals in six games, third-fewest in the league behind San Jose (8 goals allowed) and the NY Rangers (10 allowed in just 3 games).
Pittsburgh was second overall on the power play (30.4%, 7-for-23) and sixth overall on the penalty kill (88.0%, 22-for-25). The Penguins last season boasted the No. 1 penalty kill unit but were 25th in the NHL on the power play (49-311, 15.8%).
Player Notes
*Evgeni Malkin will appear in his first regular season game since February 4, 2011. Malkin led the Penguins in scoring during the preseason and ranked Tied for 3rd in the NHL with seven preseason points (3G-4A).
*Free agent signee Steve Sullivan has 15 goals and 15 assists in 37 career games vs Vancover.
*James Neal has 3 goals and 3 assists in 11 career games vs Vancouver.
*Tyler Kennedy has scored at least one goal in each of the past three season openers.
*Tonight will be D Kris Letang’s 300th career game.
*Chris Kunitz enters tonight two points shy of 100 as a Penguin (43G-55A).

Canucks Game Notes

*The Canucks are 24-23-5 all-time versus the Penguins and 22-10-4 versus Eastern Conference
teams in the last two seasons. Vancouver is 15-9-4 all-time in season openers at home.
*The Canucks are 2-2-1 in the last five season openers, outscoring their opponents 14-11. During that span, Roberto Luongo has
compiled a .935 save percentage and 1.79 goals against average.
*Daniel Sedin has led all Canucks scorers in the last five opening
games, collecting six assists. Henrik Sedin is close behind with five points (1-4-5) in five season openers. Vancouver has played five
season openers on Oct. 6, most recently to start the 1993.94 season when the Canucks defeated the LA Kings, 5-2.
*Canucks captain Henrik Sedin plays in his 500th consecutive game tonight. Calgary defenceman Jay Bouwmeester is the only active NHL player to have played more consecutive games at 506
games through the 2010.11 season.
*Vancouver enters the 2011.12 season as the reigning Northwest Division Champions and keepers of the Presidents’ Trophy as the
team to compile the most regular season points in the entire League last year.
The Canucks set franchise bests in points (117), wins
(54), road wins (27) and road points (58). Individually, members of the Canucks were awarded the Art Ross Tropy and Ted Lindsay
Award (Daniel Sedin), Selke (Ryan Kesler), Jennings Trophy (Roberto Luongo and Cory Schneider) and the GM of the Year Award
(Mike Gillis).
Collectively, the Canucks led the League in power play percentage (24.3%), goals for (3.15) and goals against (2.20).
Following up on a successful regular season, the Canucks became the Western Conference Champions, defeating the San Jose
Sharks in five games and came within one win of earning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
*Alain Vigneault is currently 11 wins away from moving past former Canucks Head Coach Marc Crawford (246) on the all-time wins list.
Since joining the Canucks, Vigneault has led Vancouver to a Northwest Division title four out of five seasons with the club and won the Jack Adams Award following his first season with the Canucks. Vigneault’s combined regular season record (236-133-41) represents
the most successful winning percentage (.626) by a Vancouver Head Coach.
*The Canucks sellout record currently stands at 363 consecutive games. The capacity at Rogers Arena is 18,890.
Player Notes
Chris Higgins is 4 points away from his 200th career point.
Daniel Sedin is 2 OT goals away from moving into first place in franchise history and 2 goals from moving into fifth place in franchise
history.
Alex Burrows is 2 shorthanded goals away from moving into second place for most in club history.
Sami Salo is 4 assists from 200 career assists and 8 games from playing 700 career games.
Roberto Luongo is 9 wins from passing Nikolai Khabibulin in 20th on the all-time wins list.
Marco Sturm is 10 games from playing 900 career games.

Projected Lineups

Pittsburgh
Forwards
Sullivan – Malkin – Neal
Kunitz – Staal – Kennedy
Cooke – Letestu – Dupuis
Asham – Vitale – Adams
Defensemen
Engelland – Letang
Martin – Michalek
Niskanen – Lovejoy
Goaltender
Marc Andre Fleury to start in goal
Vancouver
Forwards
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Burrows
Sturm – Hodgson – Samuelsson
Higgins – Malhotra – Hansen
Volpatti – Lapierre – Weise
Defense
Hamhuis – Bieksa
Edler – Salo
Ballard – Tanev
Goaltender
Roberto Luongo will start in goal

Matchups to Watch

*With Brooks Orpik expected to be out of the lineup, Paul Martin and Zbynek Michalek figure to get the primary matchup against the Sedins and Burrows.
* The Penguins top line featuring Evgeni Malkin should expect to see plenty of Dan Hamhuis – Kevin Bieksa.

*Stats courtesy of Pittsburgh Penguins, Vancouver Canucks, Stats LLC*

About The Author

William DePaoli

TIOPS Insider

William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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