(SportsNetwork.com) – The surging Vancouver Canucks will aim for a third
straight victory when they battle the Toronto Maple Leafs in Saturday’s
showdown at Air Canada Centre.
Vancouver has won two straight and the club is 3-1-0 so far on a seven-game
road trip. With the quick start to the swing, the Canucks are now 11-4-0 as
the visiting club this season.
The Canucks, who enter Saturday two points back of Anaheim for first place in
the Pacific Division, won for the fifth time in six games with Thursday’s
impressive victory in Pittsburgh. Vancouver downed the Penguins, 3-0, and
outshot the home club by a 31-21 margin.
Brad Richardson had two goals and an assist to support Eddie Lack’s 21-save
shutout effort. Shawn Matthias added a goal and an assist in the Canucks’ NHL-
best 11th road win of the season, while Lack was rarely challenged by a
lethargic Penguins team in recording his fifth career shutout and first of
“We did a good job blocking shots, but Eddie was there for us,” said
Richardson. “He was our best player all night.”
With the Canucks also playing tomorrow in Ottawa, it’s unclear if No. 1 Ryan
Miller will return to the crease tonight or if Lack will get a second straight
Miller, a former longtime member of the Buffalo Sabres, boasts a lifetime
32-15-3 record and a 2.47 goals against average against the Maple Leafs. Lack
has never faced Toronto.
The Canucks are hoping to return to their winning ways in this series after
the Leafs snapped an 11-game losing streak against Vancouver when the clubs
last met on Feb. 8 in Toronto. That 3-1 victory was Toronto’s first in this
matchup since another home win on Nov. 24, 2003.
Vancouver had won five straight at Air Canada Centre prior to last February’s
Toronto is coming off Thursday’s 5-3 loss to the New Jersey Devils, who handed
the Leafs their first loss on a five-game homestand that ends Tuesday against
The Devils and Leafs were tied at 2-2 before Mike Cammalleri put New Jersey
ahead for good with a power-play tally late in the second period. The Devils
pushed their cushion to three goals in the third before Phil Kessel notched a
power-play marker for Toronto in the final minute of regulation.
Jonathan Bernier managed just 21 saves for Toronto, while Mike Santorelli had
a goal and an assist in the loss.
“Plain and simple, I thought we got outworked tonight,” said Toronto head
coach Randy Carlyle. “They were physically involved in the game to a much
higher level than we were.”
Toronto had a five-game point streak (4-0-1) snapped, as it lost in regulation
for the first time since a humiliating 9-2 home loss against Nashville on Nov.
Bernier is 2-0 with a 2.00 GAA in his career against Vancouver, while backup
goaltender James Reimer is 0-2 with a lofty 5.26 GAA in this series.
Toronto is 9-7-0 at home this season.