Canucks Report: First goal wins?
The Vancouver Canucks (29-27-10) wrap up a quick two-game homestand tonight when they host the New York Islanders (24-33-9) at Rogers Arena. It’s a battle of the 29th ranked offense (VAN) against the 30th ranked defense (NYI).
After a 2-1 victory over Calgary on Saturday, the Canucks are looking for back to back wins for the first time since January 18th and 21st. John Tortorella was suspended for the January 21st game so he has not been behind the bench for consecutive victories since December 22nd and 29th.
Darren Archibald scored his first NHL goal on Saturday night. He becomes the fourth Canuck this season to score his first NHL marker – joining Kellen Lain, Jeremy Welsh and Ryan Stanton. The Canucks as a team have 11 goals in their past 10 games and have not been able to score more than two goals in any of those contests.
Eddie Lack, who makes his seventh straight start tonight, shut the door after giving up a long-range goal to Brian McGrattan on Saturday. Lack has held opponents to just one goal in five of his past seven starts. Nicklas Jensen will play with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows tonight while Jannik Hansen returns to the right side with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins. Henrik plays career game 999 this evening. He has gone 12 games without a point and the Canucks team-scoring lead has been frozen at 40 points since January 10th.
Zack Kassian serves the second game of his three-game suspension tonight while Brad Richardson and Ryan Stanton remain day to day with undisclosed injuries.
This is the second meeting of the year between these teams. The Canucks rallied from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Isles 5-4 in overtime on Brad Richardson’s game-winner on October 22nd in Uniondale. Daniel and Henrik Sedin both scored that night – one of only two occasions this season they scored in the same game.
The Islanders are here to conclude a four-game Western Canadian road trip that started with a 3-2 O/T win in Winnipeg and continued with 3-2 O/T loss in Edmonton and a 4-3 setback in Calgary on Friday night. The Isles are 3-9-2 in their past 14 games with just one regulation victory in that span.
It’s the Isles first visit to Vancouver since November 13, 2011 when Aaron Rome had a goal and two assists in a 4-1 Canucks win. Captain and leading scorer John Tavares (knee) is done for the year which leaves Kyle Okposo (26+36=62) as the team’s offensive leader.
The Islanders have squandered two-goal leads in the third periods of their last two games. They are 9-6-5 when leading after two periods – the only team in the league with a sub .500 record in that situation. They have 15 of their 24 wins away from Nassau Country Coliseum and are 11-4-1 in their last 16 on the road.
Evgeni Nabokov gets the start in goal.