NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, October 19th
(All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (5-3-0) at Pittsburgh Penguins (6-1-0), 1 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Pittsburgh Penguins will take aim at their first
four-game winning streak of the season when they host the Vancouver Canucks
for Saturday's matinee at CONSOL Energy Center.
The Penguins currently are on their second three-game winning streak of the
season. The club opened 2013-14 with three straight victories before losing to
Florida on Oct. 11, but has rebounded from that lone setback with wins over
Tampa Bay, Edmonton and Philadelphia.
Pittsburgh has outscored the opposition by a 12-7 margin during its active win
streak and Dan Bylsma's team is coming off Thursday's 4-1 decision in
The Pens received a goal and an assist from Evgeni Malkin in the win over the
hated Flyers. Even playing without top defenseman Kris Letang (knee) and key
forward James Neal (lower-body), four different players lit the lamp for
Pittsburgh, including Sidney Crosby, who increased his season-commencing point
streak to seven games.
Chris Kunitz and Jussi Jokinen also tallied for the Penguins, the Metropolitan
Division leaders with 12 points on the season.
"The start of the season is always an adjustment. You really just focus on
your work ethic and making sure you're committed to doing what you need to do
every night," Crosby said. "Sometimes, it doesn't work out that way,
especially early on, but we found a way to win games for different reasons.
It's nice to get rewarded early on, and to build some confidence and
Pascal Dupuis added a pair of assists to back a 24-save effort from Marc-Andre
This afternoon's game kicks off a three-game homestand for the Pens, who are
off to their best home start in nearly 20 years. Pittsburgh is 4-0 as the host
this season, three wins shy of the club's 7-0 start at Civic Arena to begin
the 1994-95 campaign.
Pittsburgh also will welcome Colorado and the New York Islanders during this
The Canucks enter Saturday's test coming off back-to-back wins and head coach
John Tortorella's club has posted a 2-0 start to a season-high seven-game road
trip. All told, Vancouver has won three in a row as the guest and its lone
road loss this season came on Oct. 3 at San Jose.
After rallying to win a 3-2 regulation decision at Philadelphia on Tuesday,
the Canucks dominated the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-0 triumph on Thursday. Roberto
Luongo stopped all 25 shots he faced to earn his first shutout of the season,
and Vancouver scored one goal in all three periods to subdue the Sabres.
The Canucks dominated the game from the opening drop, outshooting Buffalo 19-7
in the first period. Chris Higgins scored the first goal, Brad Richardson lit
the lamp in the second and Ryan Stanton tallied the final goal midway through
"It was a great start by us," Luongo said. "We came out flying."
Luongo has started seven of Vancouver's eight games this season, but he could
get a rest in one of his team's two contests this weekend. The Canucks will
play again Sunday at Columbus, meaning Eddie Lack could get the call in one of
the games. Luongo is 13-8-2 with a tie and a 2.78 goals against average in 25
career games against the Penguins. Lack, meanwhile, made his NHL debut in his
one start earlier this season, posting a win in a 5-4 decision at Calgary on
The Canucks will get defenseman Alexander Edler back from a three-game
suspension on Saturday. Edler, who received the ban for an illegal check on
San Jose's Thomas Hertl on Oct. 10, has one goal and two assists in five games
this season and is leading Vancouver with an average ice time of 24 minutes,
Fleury expects to start on Saturday for Pittsburgh and is 2-2-0 with a 2.95
GAA in four career outings against the Canucks.
Pittsburgh has won two straight and three of the last five meetings with the
Canucks, but Vancouver has claimed seven of the past 10 matchups in the
series. The Canucks had won four straight in the Steel City before losing on
Nov. 17, 2010 in their only other game at CONSOL Energy Center.
10/19 10:31:41 ET