Canucks close out road trip on Toronto
The Vancouver Canucks probably couldn't have picked a game road trip.
The Canucks look to secure their ninth straight victory over the Maple Leafs this evening as the two clubs clash in Toronto.
Vancouver picked up wins over Montreal and Ottawa to begin its trek, but has since dropped a shootout decision at Columbus and Thursday's 4-3 setback in Carolina. That has dropped the Canucks' road record to 10-7-1 on the season.
A visit to Toronto could help Vancouver finish the swing on a winning note. The Canucks haven't lost to the Maple Leafs since Nov. 24, 2003 at Toronto, outscoring the Maple Leafs by a 19-9 margin in four meetings at Air Canada Centre since.
Vancouver held a two-goal lead over Carolina in the second period on Thursday following goals by Kevin Bieksa and Mason Raymond, but the Hurricanes countered with four in a row until Alexandre Burrows pulled the Canucks to within one with 11:20 to play.
Cory Schneider made 37 saves, and Henrik Sedin recorded two assists in defeat.
"We had quite a few quality chances to put that game away and we didn't," said Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault. "Casual in front of their net and weren't able to bury some Grade-A scoring chances, made a couple of mistakes and then all of a sudden you're in penalty trouble and the score's 4-2. It's really tough to come back in this league."
While Sedin became the ninth Swedish-born player to reach 700 career points, twin brother Daniel missed the game due to back spasms and is questionable for this contest. Minus one half of the Sedin brothers, the Canucks have lost two straight for the first time since Nov. 3-4 after winning nine of 10.
Toronto was in action last night and dropped a 5-4 decision in Buffalo. Nikolai Kulemin converted the Maple Leafs' first successful penalty shot since 2006 and Dion Phaneuf had a goal before receiving a five-minute major and ejection for boarding in the second period.
Joffrey Lupul and Mikhail Grabovski also scored and Phil Kessel had an assist to bring his point total to 37, second-highest in the NHL, but the Maple Leafs lost for the fifth time in seven games.
"It was a great atmosphere out there tonight," said goaltender James Reimer, who allowed five goals on 29 shots. "Lots of Leafs fans and lots of Sabres fans. It was a fun game to play in but it was disappointing to not get the win."
The Maple Leafs now return home for three straight.