Islanders-Canucks Preview

The Vancouver Canucks have dealt with their share of struggles,

though few teams have been playing worse than the New York

Islanders.

After an up-and-down road trip, Vancouver begins a three-game

homestand Sunday night against an Islanders squad which is winless

on the road.

Vancouver (8-8-1) likely envisioned a better start after its run

to the Stanley Cup finals last season. The Canucks have yet to put

together more than two consecutive victories after finishing a

3-3-0 road trip with a 4-3 loss Friday in Anaheim.

Vancouver fell behind 4-0 after two periods, and a third-period

rally in which it outshot Anaheim 22-2 fell short.

”In the third period, we played the way we should play and

showed how good we can be,” said Daniel Sedin, who had two assists

and is among the league leaders with 16. “In the first two periods,

we weren’t good enough. We should play the whole game like we did

in the third period.”

Aaron Rome didn’t help matters when he received a game

misconduct and five-minute major for a hit on Anaheim’s Devante

Smith-Pelly, as Vancouver allowed two goals during the

second-period penalty kill.

Rome likely will be considered a repeat offender when the league

reviews the hit, which could lead to a suspension. The defenseman

knocked Boston’s Nathan Horton out of the finals with a hard hit in

Game 3 and was suspended for the rest of the series.

Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 19 shots Friday before Cory

Schneider replaced him to start the third period, and it’s unclear

who will start this game. Luongo is 4-7-2 with one tie and a 3.00

goals-against average in his last 14 appearances against the

Islanders, which drafted him fourth overall in 1997.

No matter who gets the nod, Vancouver seems to have a solid

chance of bouncing back against struggling New York (4-6-3).

The Islanders are 1-5-3 in their last nine games after blowing a

three-goal lead in a 4-3 overtime loss to Colorado on Thursday. The

defense allowed 51 shots to reach goaltender Al Montoya, who made

47 saves but committed a high-sticking penalty in overtime which

led to a power-play goal.

“When you get a couple goals scored on you, you tend to seize up

and that’s what we did,” said Brian Rolston, who scored in the

loss. “That’s the time when we need to be confident and make

confident plays with the puck. We didn’t do that. That’s something

that needs to be stressed.”

The loss dropped the Islanders to 0-3-2 on the road, marking the

second time in three seasons they’ve lost their first five away

from home.

New York had lost seven of eight in Vancouver before winning the

last meeting there 5-2 on March 16, 2010, behind two goals and

three assists from John Tavares.

He also scored in the Canucks’ 4-3 shootout victory in the most

recent matchup Jan. 11, when Daniel Sedin had an assist to give him

two goals and seven assists during a six-game point streak versus

the Islanders.

Daniel’s twin brother, Henrik, has identical statistics against

New York during that span.