NHL Preview from The Sports Network|
Thursday, February 6th
(All times Eastern)
Vancouver Canucks (27-22-9) at Montreal Canadiens (30-21-6), 7:30 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - Head coach John Tortorella hopes to finally lead the
sliding Vancouver Canucks to a win on Thursday when they visit the Montreal
Canadiens at Bell Centre.
Tortorella recently returned from a 15-day suspension for his actions in a
game against Calgary on Jan. 18 and has been behind the bench for the last two
of Vancouver's string of five consecutive regulation losses.
The Canucks went 2-4-0 while Tortorella was serving a suspension for trying to
start an altercation with Calgary head coach Bob Hartley in between periods.
Since returning, the fiery head coach has seen his club lose 2-0 in Detroit on
Monday and 3-1 the following night in Boston, but he does believe the Canucks
are making small steps in the right direction.
"I'm not interested in moral victories and all that," said Tortorella after
Tuesday's loss against the Bruins. "We lose another game, but as a coach I
have to try and hang my hat on that I see some improvement on our club within
the structure of a lot of areas of our game."
Vancouver was only able to get one of its 28 shots past Tuukka Rask on Tuesday
and the club's lone goal was scored by Raphael Diaz, who made his debut with
the Canucks after coming over in a trade with Montreal on Monday. Diaz will
face his former team for the first time tonight and forward Dale Weise, who
was shipped to the Canadiens in exchange, will get the same opportunity
against the Canucks.
Roberto Luongo made 29 saves to drop his third straight decision between the
"Good teams find a way to collect points and we're not doing that right now,"
Despite their recent struggles, the Canucks are still hanging onto the eighth
playoff spot in the Western Conference. However, they are only a point in
front of Phoenix and Dallas and two ahead of the Winnipeg Jets.
Vancouver will play its final two games before the NHL breaks for the Olympics
on the road. The Canucks are 0-3 on a five-game trek that is set to end
Saturday in Toronto and the club is 13-13-4 as the guest this season.
The Canadiens are 3-1-1 over their last five games and were able to halt a
two-game slide their last time out, beating the visiting Calgary Flames by a
2-0 score on Tuesday.
Carey Price was the star for Montreal in the win over the Flames, as he posted
27 saves for his fourth shutout of the season. Calgary had won five straight
games before running into Price.
"We played pretty well in our own end," Price said. "We limited their scoring
chances and that's the biggest reason why we won tonight."
Rene Bourque got Montreal on the board with 3:45 left in the second period,
while David Desharnais added an empty netter in the final minute.
Weise failed to reach the scoresheet in his first game with the Habs, but he
did register three shots on net and three hits in 12 minutes, 45 seconds of
Montreal, which will play its last game before the Olympic break Saturday at
Carolina, enters today's action tied with Toronto for third place in the
Atlantic Division. The Canadiens currently hold the tiebreaker due to having
played one less games than the Maple Leafs, who are occupying the seventh of
eighth playoff seeds in the Eastern Conference.
The Canadiens posted a 4-1 win at Vancouver on Oct. 12, giving Montreal wins
in two straight and five of the past six meetings in this series. The Canucks
had lost three straight in Montreal before snapping that slide with a shootout
win on Dec. 8, 2011.
02/06 11:07:42 ET