NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 7th
(All times eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (26-21-7) at Atlanta Thrashers (26-26-4), 7 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The sliding Vancouver Canucks will try to get back on track
when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers this evening for an interconference
battle at Philips Arena.
The Canucks have dropped four straight and eight of their last nine games and
are just 2-7-3 since winning their first two games of the 2008 calendar year.
As a result of the slide, Vancouver has fallen into fourth place in the
Northwest Division, but the Canucks are still only five points behind
Minnesota for the top spot in the division.
Vancouver's most recent setback came Tuesday night in Dallas, as Brenden
Morrow's goal in the sixth round of the shootout lifted the Stars to the 3-2
win at American Airlines Center.
Morrow took a clear path to the net and sent a wrist shot high over the right
shoulder of Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo. At the other end, Dallas
netminder Marty Turco swallowed a wrister by Taylor Pyatt to seal the victory
for the Stars, who have beaten Vancouver seven straight times at home.
Markus Naslund had both goals for the Canucks, who have dropped the first
three games of a four-game road trip. Luongo stopped 32 shots, but hasn't won
in regulation since blanking the New York Rangers on January 3, going 3-5-3.
The three wins all came in shootouts.
The Canucks are just 12-11-5 as the visiting team this year and have lost five
straight and eight of their last nine road tilts.
The Thrashers had a three-game winning streak halted on Tuesday, as they
opened a four-game homestand with a 3-2 setback to the Philadelphia Flyers.
Steve Downie's goal late in the third period was the difference, as
Philadelphia topped Atlanta at Philips Arena.
Atlanta lost its ninth straight game to the Flyers and fell to 0-12-1 in its
last 13 meetings with Philadelphia. The Thrashers haven't beaten Philadelphia
since a 4-1 decision on December 21, 2003.
Eric Boulton scored for the Thrashers, who also had leading scorer Ilya
Kovalchuk back after he missed the last two games with a right knee injury.
Kovalchuk also tallied while Kari Lehtonen allowed all three goals on 36 shots
Atlanta comes into tonight's action tied with Carolina for second place in the
Southeast. The Thrashers and Hurricanes have 56 points each, while Washington
is one point ahead in first.
The Thrashers are 14-13-2 as the host club this season and will also welcome
Tampa Bay and Washington in their current residency.
Vancouver is 4-1 with a tie in the last six meetings against the Thrashers and
the Canucks have taken two straight in Atlanta. Tonight's test marks
Vancouver's first stop in Atlanta since March 16, 2002.
02/07 10:40:18 ET