The Vancouver Canucks opened their four-game road trip with one of their best performances of the season. They’ll now try to extend their winning streak on the road versus a team they’ve dominated in recent years.
The Canucks go for their fifth straight road victory when they visit the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday at the Bell Centre.
Vancouver (25-19-1) has rattled off a season-high four consecutive wins away from home, including a 6-1 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. The Canucks capitalized on 5 of 10 power-play opportunities while thwarting all eight of Toronto’s.
Daniel Sedin had a goal and three assists while twin brother Henrik had three assists, boosting their season totals to 44 and 45 points, respectively, but neither made the Western Conference All-Star team.
“It would have been fun to go there, but it’s not that big a deal,” said Daniel Sedin, who has 100 career goals, including a team-leading 17 this season. “We’ll get five days rest. That’s more important. We didn’t expect to go so we’re not disappointed.”
The Canucks have had little to be disappointed about lately, winning eight of their last nine games to move within a point of the Northwest Division-leading Calgary Flames. They appear likely to continue their hot stretch against the Canadiens (25-16-5), a team which has not defeated Vancouver in more than six years.
The Canucks beat Montreal 6-2 on Jan. 21 in their only meeting last season, and are 8-0 with a tie in the last nine games between the clubs. They have outscored the Canadiens 34-16 during that stretch, and haven’t lost to the Habs since a 4-3 defeat on Nov. 30, 2000.
Montreal is trying to avoid a season-high tying third straight loss after getting shut out by the Detroit Red Wings, 2-0 on Monday.
“I think we were tentative,” said Canadiens coach Guy Carbonneau, whose team has dropped five of its last seven games. “We knew it was a big game, but we were tentative.”
The defeat followed a dismal 8-3 loss to the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. No. 1 netminder Cristobal Huet gave up a season-worst six goals in that defeat before getting pulled for David Aebischer, who also made 37 saves Monday.
Huet, who will be making his first trip to the All-Star game, has not recorded a win in four career appearances versus the Canucks, going 0-1 with a tie and a 2.09 goals-against average.
Montreal leading scorer and captain Saku Koivu has gone nine straight games without a goal, but has one goal and seven assists during a five-game points streak against the Canucks.
Vancouver may be without left wing Taylor Pyatt, who is tied for third on the team with 11 goals, after he broke his thumb in the first period Saturday. He did play the rest of the game and recorded two points.
“I saw the specialist today and he said if I can put on a splint and get on my glove and grip my stick I’ll be able to play,” Pyatt told the team’s official Web site.
Canucks center Jan Bulis, who recorded 134 points in 292 games for the Canadiens over five seasons, will face his former team for the first time since signing with Vancouver in July.