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.