Canucks-Maple Leafs Preview
While the Vancouver Canucks already have one of the most dynamic
duos in the NHL with Daniel and Henrik Sedin, the return of the
club’s leading goal scorer from last season should make them even
more difficult to defend.
Teams haven’t had much of a problem slowing down the Toronto
Maple Leafs lately.
With forward Alex Burrows looking to build off his first points
of the season, the visiting Canucks go for their eighth win in nine
games Saturday as they try to hand the Maple Leafs an eighth
The Sedin twins, who lead Vancouver (9-4-2) with 18 points
apiece, played alongside Burrows on the top line for the majority
of last season, but the winger was unable to play until last week
following offseason shoulder surgery.
In his fifth game back, Burrows had a goal and an assist in
Thursday’s 6-2 victory at Ottawa. His four games without a point
matched his longest drought from last season, when he set career
highs with 35 goals and 32 assists.
“(Having Burrows back) has a trickle-down effect on the whole
team,” said Henrik Sedin, the reigning MVP and scoring champion who
is among the league leaders with 16 assists. “If he can play with
us, you’ve got the second line together and you’ve got a third line
that has been really effective for us, and if you can keep them
together, too, it’s tough for teams to match up against us.”
Teams have been lining up to get a crack at the Maple Leafs
(5-7-3), outscored 21-9 during an 0-5-2 skid.
It’s Toronto’s worst stretch since opening last season
“We’re confident we can get out of it, but I don’t think we’re
really confident with the puck right now,” coach Ron Wilson said
following Thursday’s practice. “… Sometimes you carpet bomb the
other team and hope for a break. That’s the point we’re at right
The Maple Leafs, though, are among the lowest in the NHL with
27.7 shots per game. Toronto’s top two scorers – Clarke MacArthur
and Phil Kessel – have two goals on 40 shots over the last eight
Following Wednesday’s 4-1 loss at Florida, Wilson has decided to
mix up his lines, putting Kessel alongside Nikolai Kulemin and
Mikhail Grabovski, while sticking MacArthur with Tyler Bozak and
Trying to avoid their first four-game skid at Air Canada Centre
since losing their first six there last season, the Maple Leafs
need to improve on a power play that is 3 for 40 over the last 10
Vancouver has killed 25 of 27 power-play chances during its last
The Canucks rank among the league’s best with the man advantage
at 26.8 percent, but they are 0 for 5 over the last two games. That
could improve against a Toronto club that’s allowed seven
power-play goals in five games this month, and Vancouver has still
averaged 3.9 goals while winning seven of eight.
Continuing a season-high five-game road trip, Vancouver will go
for its fourth consecutive victory in Toronto and sixth straight in
this series dating to Nov. 24, 2003. In the teams’ last matchup,
Burrows had two goals and a career-high four points while the
Sedins combined for three goals and two assists in a 5-3 road
victory Jan. 30.
Kessel scored twice in that game, but he enters Saturday having
failed to record a point in seven straight.
Roberto Luongo was benched in that last meeting in Toronto, but
he’s 5-1-0 with a 2.35 goals-against average there.