Game 60: Canucks at Maple Leafs (2.8.14)
There are two lengthy streaks on the line tonight when the Canucks square off against the Leafs but one of them will come to an end. The Canucks hope that it's their current losing streak – which stretched to six consecutive games following their 5-2 loss to Montreal on Thursday – that gets halted as opposed to the Leafs' long run of futility against the Canucks which dates back over 10 years. There are very few who would bet on that first streak being snapped tonight, however, considering the Canucks look like a team that has simply forgotten how to win. The good news for the Canucks is that they are expected to have Canadian Olympian Dan Hamhuis back in their lineup against the Leafs. The bad news is they continue to miss several key players including team captain Henrik Sedin who will sit out tonight's game as well as the 2014 Sochi Games due to injury.
There is further bad news for the Canucks in that they'll be taking on a Leafs team that has been on fire in recent weeks. Toronto comes into tonight's contest as winners of 10 of their last 13 games, including knocking off the Lightning 4-1 on Thursday. They've been blowing out other teams along the way as well out-scoring their opponents by a combined 42-24 in their last 10 victories. This is the second and final time that the Canucks and Leafs will battle this season. Vancouver notched a convincing 4-0 win back on November 2 at Rogers Arena despite Toronto getting a sensational effort from goaltender James Reimer that night. The Leafs will most likely go with Jonathan Bernier in tonight's contest, however, as he has been head coach Randy Carlyle's go-to guy in recent weeks.
Puck drop at 3 pm PT - Live on CBC, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Play for the streak. The Canucks haven't given their fans much to look forward to lately but the chance to extend a 10-year win streak against the arrogant Leafs has to get the blood pumping a bit. The fans watching will be fired up and hopefully the Canucks are too.
Build on the power play. If there was one positive coming out of Thursday's loss in Montreal, it was the fact the Canucks' woeful power play managed to strike twice – something that had only happened two other times this season. Vancouver has a chance to capitalize again tonight against one of the most penalized teams in the league. They went 1-for-9 against the Leafs back on November 2.
MayRay proves a point. Mason Raymond's successful bounce-back campaign has not gone unnoticed on the West Coast and you can bet he'd love nothing more than to be able to stick it to the team that cut him loose last off-season by adding to the 34 points he has already racked up.
By the Numbers
Win for the Canucks in their last 10 road games (1-8-1).
Point needed for Alex Burrows to reach 300 career NHL points.
Leafs named to Olympic team rosters: Kessel (USA), van Riemsdyk (USA) and Kulemin (RUS).
Straight home wins for the Maple Leafs entering play tonight.
Straight wins for the Canucks over the Leafs in head-to-head meetings (last loss Nov. 24, 2003).
Goals scored by Toronto's Mason Raymond this season, his most since 2010.11 with Vancouver (15).