banner

NHL

more stats

NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Saturday, February 8th (All times Eastern)

Vancouver Canucks (27-23-9) at Toronto Maple Leafs (31-22-6), 6 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - The free-falling Vancouver Canucks have one last chance to end a lengthy slide before the Olympic break, as they visit the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday in the final day of NHL action before the 2014 Sochi Games.

The Canucks have lost six straight games in regulation, marking the first time the club has suffered through an 0-6 stretch since March 13-25, 1999. Vancouver last lost seven straight in regulation during the same season, going 0-7 from Dec. 26-Jan. 6 during the 1998-99 campaign.

Vancouver hasn't had a seven-game slide of any kind since an eight-game losing streak (0-5-3) from Jan. 9-31, 2009.

The current slide began while head coach John Tortorella was serving a 15-day suspension, but the return of the fiery bench boss has done little to change things. Vancouver has lost three straight since the coach finished his league- mandated ban for trying to start in altercation with Calgary head coach Bob Hartley on Jan. 18.

The slide has dropped Vancouver out of the eighth spot in the Western Conference, as Phoenix took over possession of the conference's final playoff berth with a win over Chicago on Friday. The Canucks are one point in back of the Coyotes in ninth place.

Phoenix visits Dallas on Saturday. The Stars are one point behind Vancouver in the West's 10th spot.

The Canucks have scored a total of three goals since Tortorella's return and two of those markers came in Thursday's 5-2 loss in Montreal. Max Pacioretty registered a hat trick to lead the Canadiens to the lopsided home win at the Bell Centre.

Chris Higgins and Alexander Edler scored one goal apiece for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 28 shots in the setback.

Vancouver trailed 2-0 after the first period, but was able to cut the deficit to one after Higgins scored a power-play goal at 2:31 of the second. The score remained 2-1 until Pacioretty notched his second marker of the game at 4:45 of the third.

"Their third goal was off a puck just sitting there and that surprised a lot of people around the net. That hurt us, we needed to tie the game up," said Tortorella.

Vancouver is closing a five-game road trip on Saturday and the club is just 13-14-4 as the visiting team this season. The Canucks will open their post- Olympic schedule on a three-game homestand, beginning with a matchup against St. Louis on Feb. 26.

The Canucks won't have captain Henrik Sedin tonight and the Swedish star will also miss the upcoming Olympic tournament in Sochi due to bruised ribs. Defenseman Dan Hamhuis also may miss a third straight game on Saturday with an upper-body injury.

Vancouver has one thing going in its favor on Saturday and that is the club's recent dominance over the Maple Leafs. The Canucks have won 11 straight in the series since Toronto last picked up a victory on Nov. 24, 2003 at Air Canada Centre. Vancouver has claimed five straight on the road since the Leafs won that meeting over a decade ago.

The Canucks earned a 4-0 win over a visiting Toronto club on Nov. 2 of this season as Luongo stopped 21 shots to record the shutout. Luongo is 14-6-0 with a 2.27 goals against average in his career against the Leafs.

While Vancouver attempts to halt an epic slide on Saturday, the Maple Leafs will try to head into the Olympic break by winning for the fifth time in six outings.

Toronto, which currently occupies the seventh seed in the East, rebounded from Tuesday's 4-1 loss at Florida by winning by the same score Thursday evening in Tampa. The Leafs scored three times in the third period to back a 31-save performance from Jonathan Bernier in the win over the Lightning at Tampa Bay Times Forum.

Jay McClement, James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak all lit the lamp during the final frame, with Phil Kessel assisting on two of the tallies to help the Leafs to a fourth win in five games.

"Outside of the first 10 minutes I thought we played a pretty solid game," Toronto head coach Randy Carlyle remarked. "We gave up some chances but we created some chances with our forecheck."

The Maple Leafs are four points ahead of eighth-seeded Detroit in the East and Carlyle's club also is tied for third place in the Atlantic Division with Montreal. However, the Canadiens, who are visiting Carolina on Saturday, hold the tiebreaker over Toronto due to having played on less game so far this season.

The top three teams in each division earn automatic bids to the postseason.

Toronto enters Saturday on a six-game home winning streak and the club hasn't lost at Air Canada Centre since Jan. 7 against the New York Islanders. The Leafs, who will visit the Islanders on Feb. 27 in their first game after the Olympics, boast a 20-10-1 record on home ice this season.

02/08 16:02:16 ET

Other Stories

Hurricanes

Hurricanes Oilers Hockey 12
Eberle powers Oilers past Hurricanes 6-3

It was just last week that the Edmonton Oilers and Carolina Hurricanes were the two remaining teams without a win in the NHL.

Related Stories
  • NFL: Detroit at Atlanta

    Tomorrow at 9:30 am on FOX50

  • NFL: Seattle at Carolina

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Indianapolis at Pittsburgh

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on FOX50

  • NFL: Detroit at Atlanta

    Tomorrow at 9:30 am on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • World Series: Kansas City at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 7:30 pm on 99.9 The Fan

  • NFL: Green Bay at New Orleans

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8:07pm Tonight
SFG
KAN
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
 
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
 
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
 
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
 
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
 
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
 
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
 
4th
BUF 14
CMICH 20
 
4th
MARS 28
FATL 16
 
4th
PITT 28
GT 49
 
4th
SMISS 13
LATU 24
 
4th
MSU 28
MICH 3
 
4th
KENT 24
MSST 31
 
4th
STAN 38
ORST 7
 
3rd
TCU 61
TTU 20
 
4th
OKST 10
WVU 20
 
3rd
WKENT 56
ODU 44
 
3rd
UTST 27
UNLV 13
 
4th
MIZZ 17
VANDY 7
 
2nd
UCF 24
TEMPL 14
 
1st
WASU 0
ARZ 10
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLEM
SYR
7:00pm Tonight
LAMON
TXST
7:00pm Tonight
TXSANANTO
UTEP
7:00pm Tonight
COLST
WYO
7:15pm Tonight
LSU
MISS
7:30pm Tonight
TENN
ALA
7:30pm Tonight
AUB
SCAR
8:00pm Tonight
PSU
OSU
10:00pm Tonight
UTAH
USC
10:45pm Tonight
WASH
ARST
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
 
7:00pm Tonight
TOR
BOS
7:00pm Tonight
NYI
DAL
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
DET
7:00pm Tonight
OTT
NJD
7:00pm Tonight
MON
NYR
8:00pm Tonight
STL
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
NAS
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
MIN
TAM
9:00pm Tonight
ARI
FLA
10:00pm Tonight
CAL
WAS
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14