NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Saturday, April 5th (All times Eastern)
Los Angeles Kings (45-27-6) at Vancouver Canucks (34-32-11), 10 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks will try to aid their slim playoff chances by snapping a three-game slide when they welcome the Los Angeles Kings for Saturday's clash at Rogers Arena.
Vancouver is 0-2-1 over its last three games and has dropped the first two tests of a five-game homestand in regulation. The slide has damaged the club's already fragile playoff hopes, and the Canucks enter Saturday seven points out of the Western Conference's last postseason berth with only five games left on their schedule.
The Kings, meanwhile, officially earned a fifth straight trip to the postseason following Wednesday's home win over Phoenix.
Vancouver will try to avoid getting swept by the Kings in the season series on Saturday. Los Angeles is 4-0 versus the Canucks this season and has won seven of the last 10 meetings between the clubs. The Kings halted a two-game skid in Vancouver with a 3-2 overtime win at Rogers Arena on Nov. 25.
After getting slammed by Anaheim 5-1 to begin this homestand on March 29, the Canucks then dropped a 3-1 decision in Tuesday's tilt against the New York Rangers.
Henrik Lundqvist stopped 34 shots to help New York subdue the Canucks on Tuesday. Ryan Kesler had the only goal of the game for Vancouver, while Eddie Lack gave up all three goals on 31 shots in the loss.
"I thought our team played hard and we had some chances that we just didn't finish," said Vancouver head coach John Tortorella. "I thought we battled real hard and it was a good game."
Tortorella went 0-2 against his former team this season, also losing to the Rangers 5-2 in New York on Nov. 30. Rangers head coach Alain Vigneault and Tortorella had switched cities in the offseason after both coaches were fired from their previous jobs.
Vancouver fell to 18-13-6 as the home club this season. After tonight's game, the Canucks will complete the homestand with tests against Anaheim and Colorado.
The Kings have won seven of their last nine games, but the playoff-bound club has dropped two of its past three tilts. One night after clinching its postseason spot with a 4-0 win over the Coyotes, Los Angeles was handed a 2-1 regulation defeat in Thursday's game at San Jose.
Antti Niemi stopped 26 shots to help lead the Sharks, who assured themselves of finishing no lower than third in the Pacific Division. Los Angeles is now locked into the third spot in the division and will be the guest in its first- round playoff matchup against either Anaheim or San Jose.
Jordan Nolan had the only goal of the game for the Kings. Martin Jones gave up both goals on 21 shots in the loss.
Also, L.A. saw defenseman Drew Doughty leave the game in the first period with a possible shoulder injury after checking Tyler Kennedy. Doughty, who was playing in his 199th consecutive game, is questionable for Saturday's tilt.
The Kings had an eight-game road winning streak snapped on Thursday. The club is 22-13-3 as the guest this season and is making the second stop on a four- game road trip tonight.
04/05 10:43:02 ET