Canucks-Canadiens Preview

The Vancouver Canucks haven’t taken an extended road trip since

ending the longest jaunt in NHL history eight months ago. They’re

aiming to make this one just as successful.

The Canucks open a five-game trip looking to match their longest

winning streak since last season’s epic excursion when they face

the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night.

Vancouver (8-3-2) is 2-3-1 on the road, and hasn’t been away

from home for longer than two games at a time. The Canucks will now

embark on their longest trip since playing 14 in a row as visitors

from Jan. 30-March 10 due to Vancouver’s hosting the Olympics. They

went 8-5-1 during that extended swing.

The current trip will take place entirely in the Eastern time

zone. After facing the Canadiens (8-5-1), the Canucks will make

stops in Ottawa, Toronto, Buffalo and Pittsburgh.

“That 14-gamer was definitely very challenging, but this road

trip here of five games – every other night – where we’re staying

in the same timezone is fine,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “The

travel out east is a lot easier than out west and we look forward

to meeting these teams. We don’t see them very often.”

The Canucks enter this trip red hot. They won their sixth in a

row Saturday, beating Detroit 6-4. Their only longer streak last

season was a seven-game run, which culminated with a 5-3 victory at

Toronto to open the 14-game trip.

Vancouver visited Montreal on that trip, falling 3-2 on Feb. 2

as the teams split their two-game season series.

The Canucks have 25 goals spread among 11 players during the

current winning streak.

Left wing Raffi Torres and center Manny Malhotra have been

unlikely offensive contributors with six and four goals,

respectively, during the run. Torres had one goal in the previous

seven games, while Malhotra had none.

“We have all four lines going right now and that’s what we’re

going to need the entire season,” center Ryan Kesler told the

team’s official website. “It’s good to see Manny get a couple …

and we’re just a whole team right now that’s going in the same

direction.”

While Vancouver is showing impressive scoring depth, the

Canadiens have managed six goals during a 1-3-0 stretch. They

produced a season-low 23 shots in Saturday’s 3-2 loss to

Ottawa.

Coach Jacques Martin feels the team’s problems extend beyond

sluggish offense.

“But it’s not just about scoring goals,” Martin told the

Canadiens’ official website. “You have to focus more on the process

than on the result. We’re concentrating on what we have to do to

get there and we’re not getting frustrated when the final result

isn’t what we’re looking for.”

Brian Gionta scored his second goal of the season against the

Senators, ending a personal eight-game drought. The right wing led

Montreal with 28 goals last season.

Michael Cammalleri is also having trouble building on his

performance from 2009-10, when he had 26 goals and a team-leading

50 points. He has three goals and eight points in 13 games this

season, and has failed to find the back of the net in his last six

games.