New York (30-27-2) at Vancouver (39-18-1)

Cloudy Currently: Vancouver, BC
Temp: 61° F
  • Game info: 10:00 pm EST Tue Mar 11, 2003
  • TV: FSNY, SNP
Preview | Box Score | Recap

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Ticker)—The New York Islanders begin a critical six-game road trip Tuesday night when they host the Northwest Division-leading Vancouver Canucks.

The trip will include stops in Edmonton, Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal as well as a game with the New York Rangers.

The Islanders have a four-game winless streak (0-3-1). The slide is their longest since captain Michael Peca returned from offseason knee surgery on November 14.

New York has dropped to eighth place in the Eastern Conference, two points behind the Boston Bruins and four ahead of the Rangers, who have played three more games.

The Islanders fell to 1-4-3 in their last eight with Saturday’s 4-2 setback to New Jersey. They took 40 shots on Martin Brodeur, but could only manage goals from rookie Mattias Weinhandl and slumping center Alexei Yashin.

Among the few positives was the return No. 1 goaltender Chris Osgood, who made 15 saves after missing 20 games with an ankle injury. Osgood, who hadn’t played since January 21, is 11-1-4 lifetime vs. Vancouver and made 25 saves in New York’s 2-1 home win on December 3.

Osgood’s only loss to the Canucks was a 7-4 loss on February 6, 1997 when he was with Detroit.

The Islanders could be active before the trading deadline and are hoping for an upgrade to their top line or addition to their defense corps.

On Sunday, general manager Mike Milbury obtained center Randy Robitaille from the Pittsburgh Penguins and traded checking center Claude Lapointe to the Philadelphia Flyers.

Vancouver comes into Tuesday’s contest winless in three games (0-1-1-1) and is 1-2-2-1 in its last six games following a club-record 14-game unbeaten streak.

The Canucks hold a three-point lead over the Colorado Avalanche and are tied for second in the Western Conference with the Detroit Red Wings.

They concluded a five-game road trip with a 3-3 tie against the Toronto Maple Leafs. Former Islander Todd Bertuzzi had two goals and added an assist and defenseman Ed Jovanovski set up two goals.

The teams are meeting at GM Place for the first time since Canucks defenseman Murray Baron scored the go-ahead goal of a 3-2 win on February 18, 2001. Vancouver is 7-2-1 in their last 10 home encounters with the Islanders.

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