(Sports Network) - The Vancouver Canucks will aim for a fourth consecutive
victory when they open a five-game road trip in Tuesday's battle against the
The Canucks recently posted a perfect record on a three-game homestand, giving
the surging club nine wins in its last 11 games. As a result, Vancouver has
taken a four-point lead over Minnesota for the Northwest Division lead with
nine games left in the regular season for both teams. The Wild are off
Wednesday after losing in regulation to Chicago last night.
Vancouver enters this swing having lost two straight in regulation on the
road. The Canucks are 9-6-3 as the road club this season and will begin this
trek with two games against the Western Conference's two worst team. After
facing 14th-seeded Calgary in the opener, Vancouver will make its next stop
against the basement-dwelling Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.
The Canucks then will close the trip with games in Nashville, St. Louis and
Ryan Kesler returned from a lengthy absence to score the game-winner in
Vancouver's most recent victory, a 2-0 win over Phoenix on Monday. Kesler
scored in the first period and Cory Schneider posted 19 saves for his fifth
shutout of the season. Schneider is tied for the league lead in shutouts
with Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith and Nashville's Pekka Rinne.
Kesler had been out of action since Feb. 26 with a broken right foot, but he
returned to play and scored his second goal of the season to help the Canucks
win a third straight game.
"I think we want to go to the net and get rebounds as much as possible," said
Kesler. "We just wanted to do that all game and we made it work once tonight,
but it would have been nice to get a few more. Their guy did a great job."
Kesler, the 2010-11 Selke Trophy winner, has six points (2 goals, 4 assists)
in eight games during his injury-plagued season.
The Canucks did lose forward Chris Higgins to a lower body injury on Monday
and he will be sidelined indefinitely. Defenseman Chris Tanev will also miss a
second straight contest due to a leg injury.
Vancouver, which notched a 5-2 home win over the Flames on Saturday, is 3-1-0
against Calgary this season and has won nine of 13 overall in this series.
However, Calgary has won the last three encounters at the Saddledome.
The Flames are back home Wednesday after halting a 13-game road losing streak
(0-12-1) with Monday's 3-1 triumph at Colorado. Mike Cammalleri scored the
game-winner late in the second period to help Calgary pick up its first win as
the guest since defeating Dallas on Feb. 17.
Roman Cervenka and Alex Tanguay each scored once, while Joey MacDonald made 39
saves to record the win.
"It's been a long time," MacDonald said of his team's road woes. "We kept
possession of the puck and did the small things we had to do."
Calgary is now home at the Saddledome for two straight and five of its next
six games. The Flames, who are 11 points out of a playoff spot, are 10-7-2 as
the host this season.
Flames forwards Jiri Hudler, Brian McGrattan and Matt Stajan are questionable
for Wednesday with upper body injuries.
The Sports Network