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A Bruin Battle

Thursday, 21.12.2006 / 12:00 AM / News
Vancouver Canucks
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A Bruin Battle

DEC.21.06

EAST MEETS REST

Before heading off to Minnesota on Monday, Roberto Luongo had three straight wins no complaints.

"I was a little beat down after last week having back-to-back games here and in Calgary, but coach gave me a day off last week and that really helped me out."

But with Luongo playing in the last 11 consecutive games, he may be feeling a little tired, especially now traveling through multiple time zones in four days.

"He's a had a lot of hockey lately and he's been a true force in goal even though [Tuesday] night I think he'd want a couple of those back," said Alain Vigneault. "I think it's good for him to get that extra day off."

With that said, Dany Sabourin will see his third start of the season. Sabourin's last start was on November 23 in Nashville. He's yet to win, but hopes his luck will change in the first meeting against a team in Northeast division.


IN THE LINEUP

After getting some time off Sami Salo's ready to return to the lineup tonight after missing six games. Salo has put up four goals and 10 assists in 26 games this season.

Salo's return will help on the Canucks improving powerplay, currently ranked 23rd, improving from its 27th place last week.


NO EXCUSES

At the beginning of the season, critics and fans alike complained about the lack of secondary scoring. Now there's secondary scoring, but the spotlight's shifted onto captain Markus Naslund, who's without a goal in nine straight.

"Obviously there's pressure form the outside too but the toughest pressure for me is the pressure I put on myself."

Naslund's been fighting the flu but it's not the reason for the lack of goals.

"I think everyone goes through a cold or something like that so I have no excuses."

In Saturday's game against Minnesota, Naslund was seen skating to the bench hunched over favouring one arm after being sandwiched between two Wild players. Maybe that was the problem.

"It's my shoulder that sometimes goes numb for while and then it's okay again," he says.

"It feels alright now but once it happens, it goes numb for a while."

So maybe it's not the shoulder, which he said happened earlier in Nashville, also but isn't worried about it. Even the captain is human, he may not be scoring as many goals but he's still working hard and chipping in with some assists.

"I would like to score more goals, there's no doubt about it but I try to do the right things and hopefully things will come along and I'll get my chances and I'll get my goals."


ROAD TO SUCCESS

Tuesday's 5-2 result is not the way the Canucks wanted to start off the road trip but hope to find ways to win in the next two before the Christmas break.

"I thought we had a chance to win the game so we've got to tighten up a few things and hopefully get back on track and win the last two on this road trip," said Willie Mitchell.

The Canucks have now lost four straight on the road with their last win dating back to November 22 against the Red Wings. They started the season at 5-3-1 on the road but have no dropped to 6-9-1.

"We have to find a way to at least play .500, and right now we are three games below .500 (6-9-1) on the road," said Vigneault.

They'll get a chance to redeem themselves tonight in Boston. The Bruins lost four of five games before going into Ottawa and beating the Senators 7-2 on Tuesday night.

"As a road team you don't really have to do anything special," said Naslund.

"You've got to follow your game plan and play a simple game. Whether you score a pretty goal or not, it doesn't really matter because you're not there to entertain the fans."

"So it should be easier in a way, less pressure to play on the road."

The Bruins are 9-7-1 at home but the Canucks are 2-0 against Eastern Conference teams this year, although both wins come at home. In the teams' last meeting, the Canucks defeated the Bruins at GM Place 5-2.