Maple Leafs-Canucks Preview

BY foxsports • February 12, 2016

Following back-to-back road victories, the Vancouver Canucks must find a way to start winning at home.

That hasn't been a problem when the Toronto Maple Leafs come to town.

The Canucks can avoid a fourth straight defeat at Rogers Arena by beating the Maple Leafs for an eighth consecutive time there Saturday night.

Just outside of playoff position in the Western Conference, Vancouver (22-20-12) has little room for error in its quest to make the playoffs.

"Every game is do or die for us," defenseman Alex Biega said. "Every point really matters. For the most part, that's playoff-type of hockey."

The Canucks have looked like a serious postseason contender this week, scoring three unanswered goals in Tuesday's 3-1 win at Colorado and getting 33 saves from Ryan Miller in a 2-1 victory at Arizona one night later.

"We have to build off that," Biega said.

Vancouver can do so by getting back on track at home, where it's 9-10-5 and has been held to one goal in three straight games.

"The guys are still battling," said coach Willie Desjardins, whose team averages a West-low 2.25 goals at home. "We know we've got to put together a string of (winning) games."

The Canucks also need the Sedin brothers to produce.

Henrik Sedin snapped a five-game point drought with an assist against the Coyotes, but Daniel has one point in six and none in the last four. Daniel had three goals and five assists in a five-game home point streak against Toronto that ended in a 4-1 win March 14.

Henrik totaled six points in the previous three home matchups with the Maple Leafs before also going scoreless in that contest.

Vancouver fell 4-2 to Toronto (19-25-9) on Nov. 14, but hasn't lost at home to the Maple Leafs since November 2003 and has outscored them 25-7 in the last six there.

Miller has yielded four goals each time in losing two starts against the Maple Leafs with the Canucks. He's expected to face them for the first time at Rogers on Saturday.

Toronto fell to 0-3-0 on a five-game trip with Thursday's 5-2 loss to Edmonton. The Maple Leafs have yielded 15 goals on the swing, including nine in two games since sending veteran defenseman Dion Phaneuf to Ottawa in a nine-player deal Tuesday.

Despite another rough season for the Leafs, coach Mike Babcock is happy with his team's effort and spirit, especially with this week's roster shake-up.

''I didn't mind our game, to tell you the truth,'' said Babcock, whose club trailed 3-2 after two periods against the Oilers. ''We got ourselves in a good spot (Thursday). ... We didn't finish and they did.''

After James Reimer yielded seven total goals in the first two of the trip, Jonathan Bernier gave up four on 34 shots against Edmonton. Bernier has posted a 3.82 goals-against average while losing four straight road starts.

Reimer made 43 saves Nov. 14 but has given up four goals apiece in losing both starts at Vancouver, and Bernier is likely to start this game.

Leo Komarov has recorded two of his team-leading 17 goals in the last 21 games for Toronto, which is 2 for 45 on the power play over the past 14.

Vancouver's Jannik Hansen matched a career high with his 16th goal Wednesday. He's scored in two straight against the Maple Leafs and has two goals and three assists in four home matchups.

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