Canucks-Devils Preview

The Vancouver Canucks and New Jersey Devils are two of the

hottest teams in the NHL.

It’s the Canucks, however, who are looking to surge into the

lead in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy.

Fresh off spoiling the longest home winning streak in league

history, the red-hot Canucks look to cool the surging Devils when

the clubs meet for the only time this season Friday night at

Prudential Center.

Vancouver (39-16-6) has used an 11-1-2 stretch to open a

comfortable lead as it chases a fourth straight Northwest Division

title. The Canucks have also pulled within one point of

league-leading Detroit in the hunt for back-to-back Presidents’


New Jersey (35-20-4), meanwhile, has gone 9-1-1 in its last 11

games to climb into fourth place in the Eastern Conference and is

coming off its fourth straight win, 4-3 in overtime at Toronto on


While the Devils are seven points back of the Atlantic

Division-leading New York Rangers, the Canucks moved closer to the

Red Wings following Thursday’s dramatic 4-3 shootout victory.

Daniel Sedin scored his second goal of the game with 15.4 seconds

left to force overtime before Alexandre Burrows netted the only

tally in the shootout, ending Detroit’s NHL-record 23-game home

winning streak.

“For us to come in here and play well and show that we can beat

them means a lot,'” Burrows said. “But there’s a lot of work ahead

and if we face them in the playoffs, it will start 0-0.”

Daniel and Henrik Sedin continue to be among the key driving

forces behind the Canucks. Daniel Sedin has four goals and four

assists in four games, while Henrik also has eight points in that

stretch after assisting on both of his brother’s goals


Henrik has two goals and seven assists in the past nine meetings

with the Devils, with seven ending in Vancouver victories –

including a goal in a 3-0 win Nov. 1, 2010.

Daniel has two goals and four assists over the past six games

against New Jersey, getting two points to match Burrows’ production

in a 5-2 win in the Canucks’ last visit to Newark on Dec. 2,


Despite the Devils’ recent success, coach Peter DeBoer is aware

of the challenge the Canucks pose.

“We haven’t seen a team like Vancouver in a long time,” DeBoer

told the team’s official website. “This team is four lines deep,

six defensemen deep, some of the best goaltending in the league.

They can make you pay in a lot of different ways. It’s going to be

real interesting in how we handle that.”

New Jersey is boasting some impressive offensive depth of its

own, scoring 39 goals in the last 11 games – 14 during its

four-game winning streak.

Ilya Kovalchuk has six goals and 13 assists in the past 11

contests, while the much more unheralded David Clarkson has seven

and four in the same span.

The Devils are expected to have rookie Adam Larsson back in the

lineup after he missed nine games with a lower back injury. His 16

points lead New Jersey defensemen.

“It didn’t heal the way I thought it would, so it was pretty

frustrating,” Larsson said. “It took a long time. Now, the last

week has been better every day, so I’m glad.”