NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, January 16th (All times eastern)
Pittsburgh Penguins (30-18-1) at Vancouver Canucks (27-18-2), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - Sidney Crosby's second trip through Western Canada has nearly gone as well as his first. He and the Penguins might also be catching the Canucks at the right time in the swing's finale.
Pittsburgh, which could be without starting goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, will try to end a five-game road trip Saturday night with a third straight win over a team from Western Canada as it visits Vancouver and General Motors Place.
After opening this road trip with a win over Toronto before a loss to Minnesota, the Penguins headed out to the far west of Canada for just the second time since Crosby was drafted first overall in 2005. Crosby, born in Nova Scotia and arguably one of Canada's biggest stars, helped his team through a perfect 3-0 trip in Western Canada back on December 5-8, 2007.
Crosby had a goal in Wednesday's win over Calgary, his fourth straight contest lighting the lamp, but he was held off the scoresheet in Thursday night's 3-2 victory over Edmonton.
Pittsburgh trailed by two goals in the third period versus the Oilers, but Tyler Kennedy, Matt Cooke and Pascal Dupuis all scored over a 7:12 span in the frame to rally the Pens to a win.
"We made some good plays around the net and got a lucky break on the third one," said Crosby, who is second in the NHL with 30 goals. "That's what happens when you put the puck on the net."
Jordan Staal assisted on each third-period tally and Fleury made 33 saves, including 13 in the final frame. It marked the first time since a five-game winning streak from December 10-19 that the Penguins won consecutive games.
Fleury, however, suffered a fractured left finger during the middle of Thursday's game. He did not practice on Friday and is day-to-day. With regular backup Brent Johnson on injured reserve due to a lower-body injury, John Curry would likely be in line for just his third career start, and first since December 11 of last season, if Fleury can't go.
Pittsburgh, now 16-10-0 on the road this year, is fourth in the Eastern Conference with 61 points, four back of first-place New Jersey in the Atlantic Division.
Crosby did not score in his first trip to Vancouver back on December 8, 2007, a 2-1 shootout victory for Pittsburgh, nor did he light the lamp in last season's 3-1 home setback to the Canucks on November 22. That win was Vancouver's sixth in its last seven meetings with Pittsburgh, though the Pens have three wins and a tie in their last six trips to Vancouver.
Vancouver netminder Roberto Luongo lasted just five minutes in last year's meeting before suffering a groin injury that sidelined him for 24 games. Luongo didn't make it through his last game this season either, allowing five goals on 19 shots on Wednesday versus the Wild before getting replaced by Andrew Raycroft with 10:28 left in the game. The Canucks went on to lose the game, 5-2.
Alexandre Burrows and Ryan Kesler each had a goal for Vancouver, which has lost a season-high-tying three games in a row.
"You gotta find a way to kill penalties and that's two games in a row where we lost it on penalties," said Vancouver coach Alain Vigneault. "It was unfortunate but that's the way it is."
Burrows, who has 10 goals over his last six games, was fined early on Wednesday by the league after comments made regarding referee Stephane Auger following Monday's loss to Nashville. Burrows claimed that Auger said to him before the game that he was "going to get me back tonight" for making the referee look bad during a game on December 8.
Vancouver is seventh in the Western Conference with 56 points, two back of first place in the Northwest Division.
Aaron Rome has missed the Canucks' last three games due to a head injury, Steve Bernier has sat out the last two games due a groin issue and Alexandre Bolduc left the Minnesota game with a shoulder ailment. All three players are questionable for tonight.
01/16 10:38:47 ET