Canucks seek to continue surge against Habs
The surging Vancouver Canucks will shoot for their eighth win in nine games when they visit the Montreal Canadiens for tonight's clash at the Bell Centre.
The Canucks have won seven of eight and 10 of their last 13 contests and recently completed a four-game homestand with a 3-1 record. Tonight marks the first of five straight on the road for Vancouver, which is 8-6-0 as the visiting team this season.
Vancouver has exploded for 20 goals over its last four games and the Canucks outscored Calgary and Colorado by a combined 11-1 margin in winning their last two games. Alain Vigneault's club notched a 5-1 win over the Flames on Sunday and then slammed the Avalanche, 6-0, to close the residency on Tuesday.
Daniel Sedin was the offensive star for the Canucks on Tuesday, as he recorded his fifth career hat trick to lead the way in the rout of Colorado. Jannik Hansen added a pair of goals, Alexander Edler finished with a goal and an assist and Henrik Sedin added three helpers for the defending Western Conference champs.
It wasn't all good news for the Canucks, however, as goaltender Roberto Luongo was injured in a scary incident. Luongo started and stopped 13 shots before exiting in the second period after taking a slap shot from Avs forward Matt Duchene in the throat area. Cory Schneider entered the game in relief and stopped 20 shots to preserve the shutout.
"He [Luongo] was great in the first period," Schneider said. "He was rock solid in there. He kept us in the game and let us hang around. It was scary to see him go down, because some times they [shots] rise on you and catch you in a bad spot, but luckily he was okay and we were able to close it out."
Luongo, a Montreal native, did travel with the team to Quebec. He is questionable for tonight's contest.
Former Canadien Chris Higgins is questionable for tonight after sitting out Tuesday with a staph infection in his foot. Higgins had the same ailment last season. Canucks forward David Booth, meanwhile, will miss four-to-six weeks after spraining his MCL in Tuesday's game.
Montreal has earned a point in three straight games (1-0-2), but has just one win over its last six trips to the ice. The Canadiens dropped a 3-2 shootout decision Tuesday against visiting Columbus, but the Habs were lucky to have the point as Brian Gionta tied the game with 1:21 left in the third period.
Down 2-1 late in regulation, Montreal goaltender Carey Price started to make his way to the bench for an extra attacker. Tomas Plekanec carried the puck down the right wing before throwing it out front. The disc hit off the skate of Columbus defenseman James Wisniewski and went to Gionta, who jammed the puck past Curtis Sanford with 1:21 left.
However, Rick Nash later scored in the second round of the shootout to give the Blue Jackets the extra point.
Andrei Kostitsyn also scored for the Canadiens, while Price turned aside 26- of-28 shots in the losing effort.
Montreal has a poor 4-5-5 record as the home team this year.
The Canadiens have won three straight and four out of five in their series with Vancouver, but the Canucks are still 11-4-0 with a tie over the last 16 encounters between the clubs.