December 15, 2011; Raleigh, NC, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Ryan Kessler (17) carries the puck against the Carolina Hurricanes at the RBC center. The Hurricanes defeated the Canucks 4-3. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Carolina Hurricanes: Game #27: vs. Vancouver Canucks

The Carolina Hurricanes (10-11-5) will start their slate of December games this afternoon when they take on the Vancouver Canucks (13-10-5) at 1 ET. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Carolinas and on the radio at 99.9 FM The Fan.

Hurricanes Lineup
Gerbe – E. Staal – Ruutu
Tlusty – J. Staal – Dwyer
Skinner – Lindholm – Dvorak
Bowman – Malhotra – Nash/Westgarth
Sekera – Faulk
Bellemore – Hainsey
Harrison – Murphy
Scratches: Khudobin, Semin, Gleason (Injured) Komisarek (Healthy).
Canucks Lineup
Sedin – Sedin – Burrows
Higgins – Kesler – Hansen
Booth – Santorelli – Weise
Sestito – Richardson – Kassian
Hamhuis – Tanev
Edler – Bieksa
Garrison – Stanton
Scratches: Schroeder (Injured). Welsh (Healthy).
Hurricanes Outlook: The Canes are coming off a disappointing loss to the Devils after losing their one-goal lead in the third period and eventually falling 5-2. Despite leading at the onset of the period, the team never really played that well throughout the game and didn’t deserve to win.

Cam Ward had one of his weaker performances since coming back from injury and Justin Peters could get the start this afternoon as Anton Khudobin is still not ready for game action.

It also looks like Andrej Sekera will miss his second in a row. The team sorely missed his presence against the Devils and without him had to change up the top four on defense, which had been largely in tact for the first 25 games of the season.

There was a slight change in practice as Nathan Gerbe took the first line left wing spot, while Jiri Tlusty was demoted to the second line.

Manny Malhotra missed practiced yesterday. A reason was not announced, but it was likely for maintenance. Kevin Westgarth‘s suspension is over and could take Riley Nash‘s or Malhotra’s spot in the lineup.

Canucks Outlook: In John Tortorella’s return to New York yesterday, his new team fell to the Rangers by a 5-2 score. And the lack of success seems to be following the team this season as the Canucks sit in fifth in the Pacific.

Fifth may not be a low position, but it is for a team that is a Stanley Cup contender for the past five seasons or so.

Despite the troubles in the win column, scoring has not come difficult for the Canucks players as the Sedin twins have combined for 52 points, 27 for Henrik and 25 for Daniel. Ryan Kesler has also made a comeback in the offensive categories, recording 18 points in 28 games.

One reason for the ‘Nucks lower level of success could be the bottom six. Besides Mike Santorelli and Brad Richardson, none of the players have over seven points and depth has always been a trait of Vancouver’s.

It’s possible the Canucks play former Hurricane Jeremy Welsh, but the 25-year-old has been scratched for the past three games.

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Tags: Carolina Hurricanes

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