NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, December 31st
(All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (24-12-2) at Los Angeles Kings (18-14-6), 10 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Canucks got off to a quick start in a victory on
Thursday, the same formula it used to defeat the Kings in a meeting last
Los Angeles can hardly afford to fall behind tonight against a dangerous
Vancouver club looking for a fourth straight victory.
The Canucks have captured six of their past seven games to move two points
ahead of the Wild for first place in the Northwest Division. They continue to
be led by the Sedin twins, with brothers Daniel and Henrik combining for 88
points so far this year.
Henrik leads all NHL skaters with 35 assists and is tied for the league lead
in points with 45, while Daniel is tied for third with 43.
The duo hooked up for three goals and two assists in Thursday's 5-2 victory
over the Ducks, one in which the Canucks led 2-0 after the first and 4-0
heading into the final period.
Cody Hodgson and Mason Raymond also tallied, while Cory Schneider made 30
saves to help Vancouver improve to 20-4 when scoring first.
"We wanted to get off to a good start and we sure did," said Schneider. "We
made some nice plays to build a lead and I wasn't that busy in the first. We
got into a little penalty trouble and gave them some momentum, but I thought
our [penalty] killers did a great job and we scored a couple more big goals in
the second to put it away."
Though the Kings held the Sedin brothers without a goal in the first meeting
between the clubs on Nov. 10, Vancouver still got first-period tallies from
Aaron Rome, Sami Salo and Andrew Ebbett en route to a 3-2 win. Roberto Luongo
made 28 saves to earn the win, while Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick stopped 29
shots in defeat.
The Canucks have won three in a row and eight of their last 11 versus the
Kings, who are last in the NHL with an average of 2.08 goals per game.
Los Angeles has been held to two goals or less in regulation in 16 of their
past 17 games and have scored just four power-play goals in that span. The
Kings went 0-for-5 on the man advantage in Thursday's 1-0 overtime loss at
Winnipeg, including 1:52 of 5-on-3 time in the second period.
Jonathan Bernier made 26 saves before getting beat by the Jets' Evander Kane
69 ticks into the extra frame.
"We had an opportunity 5-on-3, they had an opportunity 5-on-3. It's tough,"
Los Angeles head coach Darryl Sutter said. "So it's better to look at it the
other way and take the point right?"
The Kings, who are tied for first in the Pacific Division with the Sharks,
fell to 3-0-2 in five games since Sutter took over for a fired Terry Murray.
12/31 10:47:41 ET