Canucks look to stay hot in Montreal
Tuesday, 11.09.2010 / 4:30 PMCANUCKS (8-3-2) at CANADIENS (8-5-1)
TV -- RDS (HD), SNET-P (HD), TSN-HABS (HD)
Last 10 --
Vancouver 7-2-1; Montreal 6-4-0
Season series --
This is the first of two meetings between the clubs this season. The teams split the season series in 2009-10, with the Canucks rolling to a 7-1 victory and Montreal scoring a 3-2 decision later in the season.
Big story --
Vancouver begins a five-game road trip third in the Western Conference with 18 points following a 6-4 victory against the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The Canucks are one of the hottest teams in the League right now having won six straight and seven of their last 10 overall. Vancouver also is fifth in the League in goals per game at 3.08 and sixth in goals-against at 2.31.
The Canadiens, meanwhile, have hit a rough patch, losing three of their last four after a four-game winning streak moved them to the top of the Northeast Division.
The Canucks managed three goals on 11 shots through two periods against the Red Wings, then erupted for three goals on 23 shots in the third. Jannik Hansen
and Alexander Edler
each scored their first goals of the season and Manny Malhotra
scored his fourth -- and second of the game -- over the final 20 minutes while Roberto Luongo
stopped 24 shots in the game against a Detroit team playing for the second straight night. Daniel Sedin
and Mikael Samuelsson
also scored to lead the Canucks to their sixth straight win. Vancouver center Rick Rypien
returned from a six-game suspension for grabbing a fan in a Minnesota on Oct. 19, playing 3:06 on the fourth line.
The fourth line of Mathieu Darche, Jeff Halpern and Benoit Pouliot has accounted for 10 of the Canadiens' 34 goals this season, in addition to totaling 22 points. Meanwhile, Scott Gomez and captain Brian Gionta, two snipers expected to carry the offensive load, have combined for just three goals. Gionta did snap an eight-game goal drought with his second of the season Saturday in a 3-2 loss to Ottawa, but the Habs have scored just five goals in three games in the month of November.
Who's hot --
Vancouver's Edler has 10 points over his last 11 games, and in the absence of Dan Hamhuis
, has averaged a team-high 24:58 of ice time per game. Teammate Manny Malhotra
has 5 points in the last four games.
Injury report --
The Canucks will be without forwards Guillaume Desbiens
(broken right hand) and Alexandre Bolduc
(ankle sprain), and defensemen Ryan Parent
(groin strain) and Sami Salo
(Achilles tendon). Prized free-agent defenseman Dan Hamhuis
, sidelined the past three weeks with a bruised foot, is probable. … Montreal forward Tomas Plekanec missed last Friday's loss in Buffalo with the flu but returned Saturday against Ottawa.
Stat pack --
Canucks captain Henrik Sedin
ranks second among the NHL's ironmen, having played 430 straight regular-season games spanning five complete seasons. Calgary Flames defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is the current leader with 437 consecutive games played.
Puck drop --
"No. What happened before was an off-ice thing," Rypien said when asked if the suspension would have an effect on his game. "I think the way I play on the ice is going to stay the same. Obviously, be smarter and stuff like that. But the way I play the game, whistle to whistle, has to stay the same. I need that (intensity). I'm not going to get rid of that part of my game. I've been around long enough where I know when to do it and when not to do it."