Canucks vs. Sabres Preview
BUFFALO, N.Y. - The Vancouver Canucks have fared well against the Eastern Conference recently. They've also been playing at a high level on the road.
The Northwest Division-leading Canucks look to continue both trends Monday night when they face the Buffalo Sabres, who are looking to build on their first win at HSBC Arena this season.
Vancouver (10-4-2) went 13-5-0 versus the East in 2009-10 and has won five of six against opponents from that conference this season.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGlobal.com have made the Canucks –115 money line favorites for Monday's game against the Sabres. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 67% of more than 217 bets for this game have been placed on the Canucks -115.
"You do the math, I don't know what to tell you,'' Roberto Luongo said after making 16 of his 29 saves in the third period of a 5-3 victory at Toronto on Saturday. "I can't answer that for you without being cocky.''
The Canucks have plenty of reasons to be confident, winning eight of nine and four of five on the road since a 1-3-1 stretch.
After falling behind by two just 7:39 into Saturday's contest, Vancouver rallied to improve to 2-1-0 on a season-high five-game trip. The Canucks were outscored 16-7 while losing their first four road games of 2010-11.
"We found a way to win and that's what good teams do on the road," said center Ryan Kesler, who has scored twice in each of the last two games.
The Sabres (6-9-3) have not been a solid home team, losing their first seven at HSBC before finally breaking through with a 3-2 overtime victory over Washington on Saturday.
"We've got to build that bank account up because we owe our fans a few (wins) and that was a good team to start it against," coach Lindy Ruff told the Sabres' official website after his club ended its worst home start since 1993-94.
Ruff would also like to see Thomas Vanek continue to build up his goal total. The left wing snapped a seven-game drought by scoring twice, including the winner, against the Capitals.
"It felt nice, obviously,'' said Vanek, the team leader last season with 28 goals. "Any time you can contribute to help the team win is great. So far, it's been a rough stretch.''
The Sabres' Ryan Miller has had a rocky start to the season, but he was solid Saturday with 23 saves after missing the previous six games with a hip injury.
Miller turned away 22 shots in a 3-2 loss in Vancouver on Jan. 25.
Luongo made 30 saves in that contest - his first against Buffalo as a Canuck - after winning three of his previous four starts versus the Sabres while with Florida.
Trying to win its third straight at home in the series, Buffalo will look to improve a power play that has converted 6.5 percent (2 for 31) in the last eight games.
While the Sabres have killed off 16 of 17 power-play chances this month, they could face a stiff test from Daniel Sedin and Kesler, who form one of the league's top power-play duos with five and four goals, respectively.
Henrik Sedin presents another problem for Buffalo's penalty killing, with seven of his 18 assists coming with the man advantage.
Sabres leading scorer Derek Roy, who has two goals and four assists in the last four games, has no points in four matchups versus Vancouver.
This is the clubs' only meeting of the season.
Check out the latest odds for this game and all 2010 NHL Odds.