Canucks vs. Canadiens Preview
Quebec, Canada - The Vancouver Canucks haven't taken an extended road trip since ending the longest jaunt in NHL history eight months ago. They're aiming to make this one just as successful.
The Canucks open a five-game trip looking to match their longest winning streak since last season's epic excursion when they face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Canucks –123 money line favorites for Tuesday's game against the Canadiens. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 53% of more than 370 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks -123.
Vancouver (8-3-2) is 2-3-1 on the road, and hasn't been away from home for longer than two games at a time. The Canucks will now embark on their longest trip since playing 14 in a row as visitors from Jan. 30-March 10 due to Vancouver's hosting the Olympics. They went 8-5-1 during that extended swing.
The current trip will take place entirely in the Eastern time zone. After facing the Canadiens (8-5-1), the Canucks will make stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.
"That 14-gamer was definitely very challenging, but this road trip here of five games - every other night - where we're staying in the same timezone is fine," coach Alain Vigneault said. "The travel out east is a lot easier than out west and we look forward to meeting these teams. We don't see them very often."
The Canucks enter this trip red hot. They won their sixth in a row Saturday, beating Detroit 6-4. Their only longer streak last season was a seven-game run, which culminated with a 5-3 victory at Toronto to open the 14-game trip.
Vancouver visited Montreal on that trip, falling 3-2 on Feb. 2 as the teams split their two-game season series.
The Canucks have 25 goals spread among 11 players during the current winning streak.
Left wing Raffi Torres and center Manny Malhotra have been unlikely offensive contributors with six and four goals, respectively, during the run. Torres had one goal in the previous seven games, while Malhotra had none.
"We have all four lines going right now and that's what we're going to need the entire season," center Ryan Kesler told the team's official website. "It's good to see Manny get a couple ... and we're just a whole team right now that's going in the same direction."
While Vancouver is showing impressive scoring depth, the Canadiens have managed six goals during a 1-3-0 stretch. They produced a season-low 23 shots in Saturday's 3-2 loss to Ottawa.
Coach Jacques Martin feels the team's problems extend beyond sluggish offense.
"But it's not just about scoring goals," Martin told the Canadiens' official website. "You have to focus more on the process than on the result. We're concentrating on what we have to do to get there and we're not getting frustrated when the final result isn't what we're looking for."
Brian Gionta scored his second goal of the season against the Senators, ending a personal eight-game drought. The right wing led Montreal with 28 goals last season.Michael Cammalleri is also having trouble building on his performance from 2009-10, when he had 26 goals and a team-leading 50 points. He has three goals and eight points in 13 games this season, and has failed to find the back of the net in his last six games.
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