NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, January 25th (All times eastern)
Buffalo Sabres (30-13-7) at Vancouver Canucks (31-18-2), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will try for their longest winning streak in almost three years tonight as they continue their homestand versus the Buffalo Sabres, who wrap a seven-game road trip at General Motors Place.
The Canucks have won the first two tests of a four-game residency and four in a row overall. That matches their best winning streak of the season first set on December 31-January 7, and puts the club in position to win five in a row for the first time since March 1-9, 2007.
After kicking off the stand with a 4-3 win over Dallas last Thursday, Vancouver pasted Chicago by a 5-1 score. The Canucks' top line of Henrik Sedin, Daniel Sedin and Alex Burrows combined for nine points, with Henrik Sedin ending with two goals and an assist to give him an NHL-leading 74 points on the season.
Brother Daniel added a goal and two assists while Burrows assisted on all three Sedin goals to push his point streak to 11 games. He has 13 goals and five assists over that run.
"We're patient out there and looking for chances. Things are going good," Henrik Sedin said of the chemistry between he and his linemates.
Steve Bernier and Mikael Samuelsson also lit the lamp and Roberto Luongo made 43 saves in his 22nd straight start for the Canucks, who improved to 11-2-2 over their last 15 games despite getting outshot 44-28.
Vancouver is fourth in the Western Conference with 64 points, two behind Colorado for first place in the Northwest Division, and played without three starting defenseman in Kevin Bieksa (left ankle), Willie Mitchell (upper body) and Sami Salo (groin). Mitchell and Salo are day-to-day, but Bieksa remains out indefinitely. Also, forward Rick Rypien has missed four games in a row due to flu-like symptoms and is questionable.
The Canucks are 21-7-1 at home this year and have won seven of their last nine as the host. While they have lost their last two meetings with the Sabres, both contests took place in Buffalo, including last season's 5-2 contest on October 17.
Vancouver has four wins and a tie in its last five at home versus Buffalo, which hasn't won in the series as the guest since February 28, 1999.
The Sabres are 2-2-2 on their season-long road trip, losing the last three games in California. Buffalo dropped a one-goal game at Anaheim last Tuesday, lost a shootout in Los Angeles two days later and was then bested by San Jose, 5-2, on Saturday.
Jason Pominville had a goal and an assist and Tim Connolly added a score for the Sabres, who outshot the Sharks 40-24 but are still on their longest skid since a season-high four-game slide from November 18-25. They'll try to avoid matching that losing streak tonight.
Ryan Miller gave up four goals on 23 shots, as the Sabres lead the Northeast Division by seven points over the Senators and trail the Devils by a pair of points for the second seed in the East.
"We knew it was going to be a tough trip, and it will still be a good trip if we win [Monday],' Buffalo head coach Lindy Ruff told his team's Web site on Sunday. "We've played a lot of good teams, teams that are on a roll. The work and the battle we put in the last game was probably our best on the trip; from a shot standpoint, from a chance standpoint, garnering play. We just didn't win a game. I think execution in some of the situations is what we want to get better at."
Connolly owns the longest active point streak in the NHL with a 15-game burst that has featured seven goals and 17 assists. Burrows' run is the second- longest in the league.
Miller is 2-1-0 with a 2.62 goals-against average lifetime versus Vancouver, while Luongo is 7-6-0 with two ties and a 1.99 GAA versus the Sabres.
01/25 11:00:11 ET