Long Road Ahead
The Vancouver Canucks have had little trouble winning on their home ice, and they'll try and carry that success to the road.
The Canucks head out on the road for the first time this month on Monday when they open a four-game trip against the New York Islanders, who are looking to win three straight games for the first time all season.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Vancouver -140 money line favorites (NHL Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 5 goals (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 62% of bets for this game have been placed on Vancouver -140 (View NHL Bet Percentages).
Vancouver (10-6-1) defeated Toronto 4-2 on Saturday to wrap up its six-game homestand 4-1-1. The Canucks are tied atop the Northwest Division with Minnesota, but Vancouver now plays 11 of its next 13 on the road.
The Canucks have won their last two road games, but they have not played away from GM Place since a 7-6 shootout win over Anaheim on Oct. 31.
In Saturday's victory, Vancouver got a big lift from Pavol Demitra, who returned after missing 10 games with a rib injury and had a season-high three assists.
"I was excited about this game, it was like four weeks with my injury and to finally be on the ice there was extra jump there,'' said Demitra, who played in his first game since Oct. 19. "The last couple of days I feel great, my legs feel good and I just transferred it into the game."
His injury provided an opportunity for Kyle Wellwood, who replaced Demitra as the center on Vancouver's' second line and scored his team-leading seventh goal on Saturday. All of Wellwood's goals have come in the 11 games since Demitra's injury.
"(Wellwood) showed he can play and obviously he's an unbelievably patient guy and has great touch," Demitra said. "Playing with a guy like that you don't even need to practice. He's very skilled, very smart on the ice and reads the play."
Vancouver also received another strong performance from goaltender Roberto Luongo, who finished with 28 saves. His bid for a fourth shutout in five games end with 5:07 left - it was the first even-strength goal in six games against Luongo, whose franchise-record shutout streak ended at 242 minutes, 36 seconds on a power-play goal in Thursday's 2-1 shootout loss to Colorado.
Luongo, who is 4-0-1 with a 0.59 goals-against average in his last five games, made 26 saves in the Canucks' 3-2 shootout win over the Islanders on Jan. 8.
New York (6-9-2) is coming off a 3-2 win over Ottawa on Saturday at Nassau Coliseum to sweep a home-and-home series from the Senators.
The Islanders have won two straight after dropping three in a row, and have not won three consecutive games since reeling off six straight victories Feb. 12-21. They are also trying to win consecutive games for the first time at Nassau Coliseum, where they are just 3-6-1 this season.
"When you win a couple of games in a row, it's good for your confidence," said goalie Joey MacDonald, who turned aside 38 shots on Saturday.
MacDonald, who has stopped 96-of-101 shots in his last three games, has never faced the Canucks in his career.