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The Ottawa Senators kick off a four-game road trip through Western Canada on Sunday, when they head outdoors to face the Vancouver Canucks in the Heritage Classic. The Canucks traditionally play at Rogers Arena but will shift next door to compete under the retractable-roof stadium at BC Place, which is the home of the Canadian Football League's BC Lions. "I played outdoors in the (American Hockey League) and it was awesome," Senators center Zack Smith said. "It was different, a lot of fun and it's still competitive because there's two points on the line."
Vancouver certainly can use the two points as it fell for the eighth time in nine contests with a 2-1 shootout loss to Minnesota on Friday. The lack of offense has plagued the Canucks, who have mustered just six goals in their last six contests. Vancouver seems to find its stride against Ottawa, as it posted a 5-2 triumph on Nov. 28 for its sixth straight win versus the Senators and 10th in 11 meetings.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, CBC, RDS
ABOUT THE SENATORS (26-23-11): Although Ottawa is the road team, Kyle Turris was more than happy to return home. "To play in any outdoor game is something different and special, but to play in my hometown against the Canucks, it’s going to be really special," the New Westminster (B.C.) native told The Province. "I’m really looking forward to it. I could never imagine an outdoor game in Vancouver, but it’s going to be really cool. I haven’t even seen BC Place since it has been redone." Turris has scored a career-high 19 goals this season but has notched only a tally and an assist in his last six contests.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (28-24-10): Captain Henrik and Daniel Sedin will see some familiar faces in attendance on Sunday as parents Tommy and Tora made the trek from Ornskoldsvik, Sweden. "They come over once or twice (per year)," Henrik Sedin said. "They timed it to come to the outdoor game." Perhaps their parents also can bring a bit of good fortune for the struggling duo as Henrik has failed to tally in his last 19 games and Daniel's drought stands at 21 contests - although the latter scored in the previous meeting.
1. Vancouver C Ryan Kesler returned from a hand injury to score his team-leading 21st goal against Minnesota.
2. Ottawa, which suffered a 6-1 setback to Detroit on Thursday, has been outscored 13-3 in its last two contests.
3. Canucks rookie Eddie Lack is expected to start in place of G Roberto Luongo, who hasn't played since backing up Carey Price at the Sochi Winter Games.
PREDICTION: Canucks 3, Senators 2