NHL Preview from The Sports Network |
Thursday, February 5th
(All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (30-15-7-3) at New Jersey Devils (28-13-10-1), 7:30 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks try to get back on the winning track
tonight when they travel to the Meadowlands to face the New Jersey Devils on
the final day of play before the All-Star break.
This is a battle of two of the top teams in the league. The Canucks have 70
points and are two behind Colorado for first place in the Northwest Division,
while New Jersey, the defending Stanley Cup champs, have 67 and are three
behind Atlantic Division-leading Philadelphia.
The Canucks were dealt a pair of losses in the New York area, as they fell to
the Rangers on Monday before being handed an overtime setback on Long Island
the next night. Adrian Aucoin scored a power-play goal just 36 seconds into
overtime, lifting the Islanders to the victory.
The Islanders scored three times in a span of just over two minutes late in
the third period to rally from a two-goal deficit and take the lead, only to
watch Vancouver come back and tie it.
Daniel Sedin posted a goal and two assists for Vancouver, while brother Henrik
added a goal and an assist. Martin Grenier and Wade Brookbank also scored, and
Johan Hedberg finished with 23 saves.
The Canucks, who dropped a 4-3 decision to the Rangers Monday, have lost two
straight after winning five in row. Vancouver is 2-1-0-1 on the five-game road
trip that ends tonight.
Tuesday's setback was the Canucks' first loss this season when leading after
two periods (18-0-0-1).
Vancouver veteran Trevor Linden still remains one point shy of matching Stan
Smyl's franchise record of 673 career points.
The Devils, meanwhile, have been on a hot streak in recent weeks. They have
won two straight and five of their last six outings. On Tuesday, Jeff Friesen
scored the winning goal with 6:13 left in the third period to lift the Devils
to a 2-1 home victory over the Ottawa Senators.
Patrik Elias also scored and Martin Brodeur made 23 saves for New Jersey,
which is 7-2-1 since a 4-0 shutout at the hands of the Senators on January 13.
The Devils also improved to 8-4-1 since captain Scott Stevens went down with
post-concussion syndrome. New Jersey defenseman Brian Rafalski was chosen to
replace Stevens on the Eastern Conference team for this Sunday's All-Star
Vancouver has won three straight and four of the last five meetings with the
Devils. The Canucks have also won in five of their previous seven trips to
02/05 10:19:15 ET