Canucks Report: Game Day vs. Capitals

The Canucks head to Washington to take on the Capitals this afternoon. Game time 7pm est, 4pm pst.

Friday, 14.01.2011 / 4:07 PM / News
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Canucks Report: Game Day vs. Capitals
January 14, 2011

GAME PREVIEW: CANUCKS AT CAPITALS

By Nolan Kelly

Vancouver heads into Washington today to face the red-hot Capitals. Before losing last Wednesday’s contest to the Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington had registered points in nine consecutive games (6-0-3).

A few lineup changes for the Canucks tonight. Alexandre Bolduc gets back in to centre the fourth line, while Jeff Tambellini is expected to move back to his usual right wing spot on the 2nd line. Jannik Hansen slots in on the 4th line after playing with Ryan Kesler and Mason Raymond against the Rangers last night.

Roberto Luongo starts tonight in a marquee matchup of one of the league’s great goaltenders against one if its best snipers. Luongo has dominated the head to head matchup against Alex Ovechkin, owning a 10-1 record against him - and that doesn’t include a Team Canada blowout of Russia during last year’s Olympics. Ovechkin has only two goals in 11 career games against Luongo.

In their last meeting on December 18th, 2009, the Canucks beat the Caps 3-2 at Roger’s Arena. The Canucks have won nine of their last 12 against the Capitals.

For the Capitals, Alexander Semin has missed the last two games with a lower body injury. He is doubtful for tonight’s matchup. Tom Poti and Matt Bradley will also be out.

Semyon Varlamov gets the start in net for Washington. He has been spectacular of late, owning a 4-1-2 record and a .950 save percentage in his last seven starts.

The Capitals are struggling on the powerplay, going 2/25 over their last seven games. They carry the 17th best powerplay in the NHL into tonight’s game, a far cry from their 2009-10 top ranked unit. Tonight they face the Canucks 7th ranked penalty killing unit.

The Canucks travel to Minnesota for a Sunday afternoon matchup against the Wild tomorrow.

THE STREAK

The Canucks fell 1-0 to the New York Rangers last night, ending their franchise record 17-game run of points in consecutive games.

39 days, 14 wins, zero regulation losses, three overtime losses, 63 goals for, 37 goals against and a 7-0-1 record on the road.

The streak started in thrilling fashion on December 8th of last year, as the Canucks, down two goals at home to the Anaheim Ducks with seven minutes to play, came back to tie the game on tallies from Daniel Sedin and Ryan Kesler; two names Canucks fans would hear a lot from over the coming month. The Canucks won the game on a shootout snipe by Jeff Tambellini.

When the streak began, the Canucks were five games above .500 and in the thick of things in the Western Conference playoff race.

They now sit 19 games above .500, three points clear of the Red Wings and Flyers for 1st overall in the NHL.

Daniel Sedin (11-13-24, +12 in 17 games) and Ryan Kesler (14-9-23 +14) were the Canucks best forwards during the streak. In 17 games Sedin and Kesler went pointless only three times. Daniel’s success culminated in an NHL first star of the week selection last Monday.

The goaltending was equally brilliant during the streak. Roberto Luongo went 9-0-2 with a .930 save percentage, while backup Cory Schneider sported a 5-0-1 record with a .945 save percentage. Schneider recently tied a franchise record for undefeated streak by a goaltender at 8-0-2.

The Canucks look to start a new streak in Washington tonight.