Refreshed Canucks tangle with Maple Leafs
The Vancouver Canucks have been keeping pace for the best record in the league, but used a lot of extra energy to do so. That made Wednesday's regulation win that much more refreshing.
The Northwest Division-leading Canucks look to extend an 11-game point streak tonight with a 10th straight victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Vancouver has posted an 8-0-3 record over its point streak and sits four points behind Detroit for the most in the league. The Canucks own a comfortable lead atop their division, 15 points up on the second-place Flames.
Not that Vancouver hasn't need to work hard as of late. Wednesday's 3-1 win over the Avalanche was just the fourth time in the Canucks' last 14 contests that the game did not go into overtime.
David Booth scored in the first period before Colorado tied things up in the second. However, Jannik Hansen made sure 60 minutes would be enough as he scored the game-winner in the third and Alexandre Burrows reached the 20-goal mark for a fourth straight season with his empty-net tally.
"It was nice to get this one in regulation because after the second period I was sure that it was going to overtime or a shootout," said Vancouver goaltender Roberto Luongo, who made 29 saves. "We know that come the playoffs these are the types of game that we're going to be in."
The Canucks extended their series winning streak over the Maple Leafs with a 5-3 win at Toronto on Dec. 17. Vancouver has outscored Toronto 15-7 over a four-game series home winning streak and the Maple Leafs haven't won as the guest in this series since Nov. 22, 2003.
Toronto is hoping to win a second straight game this evening after snapping a four-game slide with a 4-3 overtime victory against Edmonton on Wednesday. Tim Connolly snapped a 17-game goal drought by scoring the game-winning goal 1:39 into overtime.
Joffrey Lupul scored only 40 seconds into the game and Matthew Lombardi and Jake Gardiner also scored as the Maple Leafs bounced back from a 5-1 loss in Calgary the previous night that began a three-game swing through Western Canada.
"[Tuesday] night was a tough one to swallow. It was an effort that should have been a lot better," said Toronto's Cody Franson. "This was a big game for us, kind of a must-have two points with the way our last four had went. We battled hard and came out with the two points."
The victory helped Toronto hold onto the eighth and final playoff spot in the East. The Maple Leafs, who had netted just five goals over their losing streak, come into this contest with a one-point edge over the ninth-place Capitals.
Both Keith Ballard and Dale Weise are questionable tonight for the Canucks. Ballard has missed four straight with a sore neck/headaches, while Weise sat out the last time with facial lacerations.