Canucks hope to build momentum vs. struggling Isles
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to win two straight games for the first time since mid-January on Monday night as they play host to the struggling New York Islanders.
The Canucks are coming off just their second victory in 13 games, having bested the Calgary Flames 2-1 on Saturday. That improved Vancouver to just 2-10-1 since Jan. 26.
Eddie Lack settled down to finish with 22 saves after giving up the first goal of the game early in the second period on a slap shot from center ice taken by Calgary's Brian McGrattan.
Darren Archibald tied the game with his first career NHL goal and defenseman Yannick Weber had the game-winner five minutes into the third period.
With the win, Vancouver snapped a four-game slide and sits four points back of the Dallas Stars for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference.
'It was a grind for both teams," said Canucks head coach John Tortorella. "We're just looking for points."
Canucks winger Zack Kassian began serving a three-game suspension on Saturday that was handed down for an illegal check in Thursday's loss in Dallas.
The Islanders wrap up a four-game swing through Western Canada tonight and are 1-1-1 on the trek. The regulation loss came last time out on Friday, a 4-3 setback to the Flames in which New York failed to hold a two-goal lead in the third period.
Colin McDonald, Kyle Okposo and Brock Nelson lit the lamp for the Islanders, who have lost six of their past eight overall. Anders Nilsson made only 19 stops in the loss.
"It's mental at this point," said Okposo, who had a shot ring off the post during a 5-on-3 power play early in the third period. "We give up one then we sit back and let them back in the game. We have to say 'enough's enough.'"
While Lack is likely to face the Islanders for the first time in his career tonight, it is unknown who will get the call for New York. Nilsson has never faced Vancouver, while Evgeni Nabokov is 14-7-3 with a 2.40 goals against average versus the Canucks.
Nabokov made 28 saves in a 5-4 overtime loss to the visiting Canucks back on Oct. 22 in the first of two meetings this season. Nelson scored his first NHL goal in the setback, New York's third in a row to Vancouver.
Brad Richardson had the game-winner for the Canucks, who have won four of five and eight of the past 10 encounters at home in this series.