October 27, 2014

The Carolina Hurricanes have been one of the league's stingiest teams over the last few weeks, thanks in large part to solid play in net from Cam Ward and Eddie Lack.

The issue is that they're scoring at the exact same rate during that time.

Carolina looks to avoid a third straight defeat by beating the Canucks in Vancouver for the first time in more than 16 years Wednesday night.

The Hurricanes (16-17-7) have given up just 15 goals over their last nine games, with Ward posting a .939 save percentage in six starts and Lack having a .944 mark in the other three.

They've scored the same amount of goals in that span, though, and have left points on the table during a 4-3-2 stretch. Carolina scored first in a 2-1 overtime loss to Nashville on Saturday before losing again in overtime Monday, 1-0 at Edmonton.

The Hurricanes have failed on all 12 power-play chances over the last seven games, including their only one against the Oilers that came late in the third period.

''I don't think they got our best game, but we got a point and we've got to take that and come out with a better effort against Vancouver,'' said forward Eric Staal, who has had a hand in six of Carolina's 13 goals over the last seven. ''It's a big stretch for our team, a good chunk of hockey games that we want to get points and get wins.''

Lack was in net against the Predators before Ward made 26 saves Monday. Lack said earlier in the week he was looking forward to facing the Canucks, for whom he posted a 2.43 goals-against average in 72 starts and 10 relief appearances over the last two seasons.

Dealt to the Hurricanes for third- and sixth-round picks in June, Lack celebrated his 28th birthday Tuesday in Vancouver and will face his former teammates for the first time.

"I'll get in the crease and see what he has to say. Some goalies like to talk more than others," Canucks forward Jannik Hansen said. "Guys get traded so much in this league, but it's about the two points."

Carolina has been outscored 12-3 while dropping the last four meetings with the Canucks and has lost all seven matchups in Vancouver since last winning there Oct. 15, 1999. The Hurricanes lost 4-1 in Vancouver last season as Ryan Miller made 29 saves, then he had 28 in a 3-0 home win over Carolina.

Miller, though, is dealing with a groin injury. He skated Monday but didn't practice Tuesday, making it likely that Jacob Markstrom, who won his only career start against Carolina in 2013, will make a sixth straight start.

The Canucks (15-16-9) have split the first four of a seven-game homestand after falling 3-2 to Arizona on Monday despite Markstrom's 26 saves. Bo Horvat scored and Daniel Sedin added a goal in the third period after a few of his teeth were knocked out from a puck to the face in the first.

Horvat's power-play goal was a positive sign after Vancouver went 0 for 20 with the man advantage over its previous nine.

"That was a step in the right direction," coach Willie Desjardins said. "It was good we battled back and got one in the third and we had a couple chances that didn't go."

Defenseman Alexander Edler didn't practice Tuesday because of the flu, but winger Sven Baertschi is expected to return after a two-game absence because of an upper-body injury.

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