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Preview: Panthers at Canucks

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

The Vancouver Canucks are looking to avoid their first five-game losing streak in almost five years when they host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday. The Canucks have scored only one goal in each of their last four defeats but they own a two-decade edge of home dominance over Florida, which hasn't won in Vancouver since March 1994 - the Panthers' inaugural NHL season. It is the third contest of a five-game homestand for the Canucks, who have lost five of their last six overall.

The Panthers are starting to show some life under interim coach Peter Horachek, winning two of their last three contests and snapping a nine-game drought on the road with Saturday's impressive 4-1 triumph at Colorado. That victory was tantamount to an offensive eruption for Florida, which had failed to score more than three goals in its previous 15 games. “We challenged ourselves to play that complete game we haven’t played all season," said Tomas Kopecky, who scored for the second straight contest.

TV: 10 p.m. ET, FSN Florida (Miami), RSN Pacific (Vancouver)

ABOUT THE PANTHERS (5-12-4): Florida netminder Tim Thomas is coming off his 200th career victory in Colorado, but his most memorable win is one that Canucks fans will never forget - watching Boston celebrate a Stanley Cup in Vancouver behind Thomas' Game 7 shutout in 2011. Thomas, who took a year off before signing with the Panthers, will be making his first appearance at Rogers Centre since his Conn Smythe Trophy-winning effort. "I'm not expecting anything," Thomas said of the reaction that may await him from the local fans. "But whatever comes my way, comes my way."

ABOUT THE CANUCKS (11-8-3): A number of Vancouver players are battling goal droughts, with former Panther Mike Santorelli scoring once in his last 17 games and Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler both blanked in their last six. Alexandre Burrows, who averaged 29-plus goals over four seasons prior to the lockout-shortened campaign of a year ago, has yet to score in 10 games this season. "I’m still stuck at zero, so I just have to stay positive,” Burrows said. “I have been through this before. I just have to keep shooting and going at the net."

OVERTIME

1. Canucks G Roberto Luongo, who played five seasons with Florida, is 4-1-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average versus the Panthers.

2. Florida owns the league's worst power play at 9.5 percent while Vancouver ranks 27th (11.6 percent).

3. The Canucks last dropped five straight during an eight-game skid (0-5-3) in January 2009.

PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Panthers 1

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/131119/preview-panthers-at-canucks