Canucks-Sabres Preview

The Vancouver Canucks have fared well against the Eastern
Conference recently. They’ve also been playing at a high level on
the road.

The Northwest Division-leading Canucks look to continue both
trends Monday night when they face the Buffalo Sabres, who are
looking to build on their first win at HSBC Arena this season.

Vancouver (10-4-2) went 13-5-0 versus the East in 2009-10 and
has won five of six against opponents from that conference this
season.

“You do the math, I don’t know what to tell you,” Roberto
Luongo said after making 16 of his 29 saves in the third period of
a 5-3 victory at Toronto on Saturday. “I can’t answer that for you
without being cocky.”

The Canucks have plenty of reasons to be confident, winning
eight of nine and four of five on the road since a 1-3-1
stretch.

After falling behind by two just 7:39 into Saturday’s contest,
Vancouver rallied to improve to 2-1-0 on a season-high five-game
trip. The Canucks were outscored 16-7 while losing their first four
road games of 2010-11.

“We found a way to win and that’s what good teams do on the
road,” said center Ryan Kesler, who has scored twice in each of the
last two games.

The Sabres (6-9-3) have not been a solid home team, losing their
first seven at HSBC before finally breaking through with a 3-2
overtime victory over Washington on Saturday.

“We’ve got to build that bank account up because we owe our fans
a few (wins) and that was a good team to start it against,” coach
Lindy Ruff told the Sabres’ official website after his club ended
its worst home start since 1993-94.

Ruff would also like to see Thomas Vanek continue to build up
his goal total. The left wing snapped a seven-game drought by
scoring twice, including the winner, against the Capitals.

“It felt nice, obviously,” said Vanek, the team leader last
season with 28 goals. “Any time you can contribute to help the team
win is great. So far, it’s been a rough stretch.”

The Sabres’ Ryan Miller has had a rocky start to the season, but
he was solid Saturday with 23 saves after missing the previous six
games with a hip injury.

Miller turned away 22 shots in a 3-2 loss in Vancouver on Jan.
25.

Luongo made 30 saves in that contest – his first against Buffalo
as a Canuck – after winning three of his previous four starts
versus the Sabres while with Florida.

Trying to win its third straight at home in the series, Buffalo
will look to improve a power play that has converted 6.5 percent (2
for 31) in the last eight games.

While the Sabres have killed off 16 of 17 power-play chances
this month, they could face a stiff test from Daniel Sedin and
Kesler, who form one of the league’s top power-play duos with five
and four goals, respectively.

Henrik Sedin presents another problem for Buffalo’s penalty
killing, with seven of his 18 assists coming with the man
advantage.

Sabres leading scorer Derek Roy, who has two goals and four
assists in the last four games, has no points in four matchups
versus Vancouver.

This is the clubs’ only meeting of the season.