|CAR||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||3|
|VAN||0||0||0||(0 - 0)||4|
The Carolina Hurricanes have plenty of momentum as they begin a western road trip against a club desperately looking to find some of its own.
The surging Hurricanes look for a third straight victory Tuesday night, while trying to hand the Vancouver Canucks a 10th consecutive loss at home.
Paced by another strong effort from goaltender Cam Ward, Carolina (25-21-5) beat Atlanta 2-0 at home Saturday for its fourth victory in five games since losing a season-high five in a row.
Thanks to the recent run of success, the Hurricanes own the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference and a postseason attitude to go with it.
"I think this is awesome," said forward Chad LaRose, who had an assist Saturday for his third point in as many games "It's Game 7 of the playoffs without the pressure. It's feeling really good and we know this is our push time."
The Hurricanes have a chance to continue that positive push against Vancouver (22-20-8), which has lost eight in a row (0-5-3) since winning 4-2 at Edmonton on Jan. 7.
The Canucks, 11th in the Western Conference, are 0-6-3 at home since beating Ottawa 3-0 on Dec. 28. They are two shy of the franchise-record winless streak set in the inaugural 1970-71 season.
The Canucks latest setback at GM Place came Saturday in a 4-3 overtime defeat to Minnesota.
"I obviously think our battle level was better and it needs to stay at that level and get better," coach Alain Vigneault told the Canucks' official Web site.
Though Vancouver has won the last three home meetings with Carolina, the last two have gone to overtime. The most recent was a 4-3 Canucks win on Dec. 8, 2006.
Carolina won the last meeting between the clubs, 3-1 at home on Oct. 22, 2007, to snap a five-game losing streak in the series.
On Saturday, Matt Cullen had a goal with an assist for the second straight game, while Ward made 19 saves for his third shutout of the season and second in five games.
Though the Hurricanes have scored more than two goals only once in their last five games, they've allowed six during that span thanks to Ward, who is 4-1-0 with a 1.20 goals-against average in those five contests.
Ward is 1-0-1 with a 2.44 GAA against Vancouver and also made 19 saves in beating the Canucks in 2007.
The Canucks captain is 0-2-3 with a 3.70 GAA since his return. He is 9-13-1 with three ties and a 2.57 GAA versus Carolina.
Vancouver could get a boost with the potential return of forward Pavel Demitra to the lineup. The veteran, who has 13 goals and 12 assists in 37 games, has missed the last three contests with a groin injury.
"I'll make that decision tomorrow, but it is a possibility right now," said Vigneault, of Demitra, who has six goals and 11 assists in 18 games versus Carolina.
|Feb 03 '09||CAR 3 at VAN 4||A. Burrows|