NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Sunday, January 5th (All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (23-13-7) at Anaheim Ducks (30-8-5), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The rolling Anaheim Ducks will shoot for a 13th win in 14 games when they host the Vancouver Canucks in Sunday's Pacific Division battle at Honda Center.
In addition to posting 12 wins in their last 13 outings overall, the Ducks, who lead the Pacific by seven points over San Jose, still haven't suffered a regulation loss on home ice this season.
Friday's 5-2 home victory against the Edmonton Oilers boosted Anaheim's superb record as the host this season to 16-0-2. The Ducks are the only team in the NHL yet to lose in regulation at home in 2013-14.
Ben Lovejoy was the unlikely offensive star in Friday's win against Edmonton, as the defenseman recorded the first two-goal game of his career in the win. Lovejoy has seven goals in 171 career games and three of them have come this season.
The two-goal performance also came just three days after Lovejoy's wife delivered the couple's first child, a daughter, on New Year's Eve.
"Great feeling, great win," said Lovejoy. "It�s been an awesome couple of days, and I would love to keep it going. It was pretty special."
Kyle Palmieri also notched a goal and an assist in Friday's victory. Tim Jackman and Andrew Cogliano added the other goals for the Ducks. Jonas Hiller needed to make only 16 saves for Anaheim, which outshot the Oilers by a commanding 37-18 margin on the night.
The Ducks notched a win over a visiting Vancouver club on Nov. 10, taking the first of five meetings between the clubs by a 3-1 score. Anaheim has taken two straight and three of four overall from the Canucks, but Vancouver has won three of the past five encounters in Orange County.
The Canucks enter Sunday's showdown on a three-game slide and Vancouver's last two setbacks have come in regulation, including Saturday's 3-1 loss in Los Angeles.
Vancouver led 1-0 heading into the third period before the Kings scored three times in the final 20 minutes for the win. Jeff Carter scored twice for L.A. and he notched the game-winner with 7:55 left in the third after Dustin Brown tied it just 67 seconds into the period. Carter also added an empty-net goal to seal the victory.
Ryan Kesler had the only goal of the game for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo stopped 46 shots to take the tough-luck loss in his return to the lineup. Luongo had missed the previous three games with a lower-body injury.
"In our division we are going to have to learn to battle hard, and it starts with our forwards, as far as the forecheck," said Vancouver head coach John Tortorella. "Our D was under siege all night long. If we are going to compete in our division in the second half of this year, we need to be more consistent."
Vancouver is currently sitting fourth in the Pacific Division and now trails L.A. by three for third place.
The Canucks expect to turn to Eddie Lack in net this evening. Lack has one career outing against the Ducks, as he took a loss after allowing two goals in Vancouver's 3-1 setback in Anaheim on Nov. 10.
01/05 11:12:53 ET