Luongo, Brodeur ready to square off
Wednesday, 12.02.2009 / 7:00 PM
CANUCKS (14-12-0) at DEVILS (17-6-1)
-- Canucks (5-5-0); Devils (7-2-1)
-- This is the lone meeting between the teams this season. The Devils scored a 5-3 victory last season after the Canucks and goalie Roberto Luongo
notched a 5-0 triumph during the 2007-08 campaign. Luongo is 5-13-0 with a 3.05 goals-against average all-time against New Jersey, while Devils goalie Martin Brodeur
is 6-9-0 with a 2.76 GAA in 15 appearances against the Canucks.
-- The Canucks begin a four-game, seven-day road trip in New Jersey before returning to GM Place for an eight-game homestand. The Devils play eight of their next nine games at Prudential Center, where they've won six straight. The club might also be getting healthier as forwards Jay Pandolfo (shoulder) and Rob Niedermayer (upper body) and defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower body) began skating with the team this week. Of the three, Niedermayer looks to be the one sure bet to play against the Canucks.
Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff, in his first season with Vancouver, has 17 points in 26 games. He's tied for ninth among defensemen in the League in points and his plus-11 rating is tied for fifth in the League among blue liners. Center Henrik Sedin
, who leads the club with 14 goals and 28 points, has accrued 12 points in his previous 11 games (8 goals). Sedin was certainly given a boost with the return of his twin brother, Daniel, to the top line on Nov. 22. Daniel Sedin
has missed the previous 18 games with a broken foot. He was immediately reinserted on the club's top line with Henrik and Alex Burrows.
"We're really comfortable," said Henrik of the team's top line. "They're two really good players. We read off each other really good. It's a lot of fun playing with those guys."
-- New Jersey is 11-0-0 when leading after two periods -- not too surprising when you consider Jacques Lemaire is behind the bench. Lemaire points to the veteran leadership on the team that has contributed to the Devils' strong play despite injuries to key personnel. Brian Rolston, who scored twice in a 6-1 victory over the Islanders on Saturday, has taken seven shots in each of his last two games and has notched 4 goals and 6 points over the last four games since joining linemates Patrik Elias
and Jamie Langenbrunner.
"Consistent play," Rolston said. "Everybody's chipping in. All the young guys who have come in from Lowell have played great. The defense has been great, Marty (Brodeur) has been terrific."
-- Devils wing Zach Parise
is on a career-high nine-game point-scoring streak (9 goals, 15 points). The Devils' record is 15 straight by Brian Gionta from March 21 to April 18, 2006. For the season, the Devils' alternate captain leads the team with 15 goals, 30 points and an NHL-leading plus-19 rating. Patrik Elias
has 10 points over the last six games, including 7 assists.
-- The Canucks will be minus forwards Pavol Demitra (shoulder), Alex Bolduc (shoulder), Michael Grabner (ankle) and Rick Rypien (upper body). ... The Devils will be without forwards David Clarkson
(ankle) and Dainius Zubrus
(fractured right kneecap) and defensemen Paul Martin (broken arm). Forward Jay Pandolfo (dislocated right shoulder) and defenseman Johnny Oduya (lower body) are questionable.
-- The Canucks are the only team in the West without an overtime or shootout loss. Henrik Sedin
has played in 361 consecutive games, including three complete seasons. Calgary defenseman Jay Bouwmeester is the current ironman leader with 365 straight starts.
-- The goaltending matchup is sure to please. Fans can expect to see a possible showdown between two goalies fighting for the No. 1 job for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver -- New Jersey's Brodeur (15-6-1, 2.05 GAA, .925 save percentage) and Vancouver's Luongo (10-9-0, 2.56 GAA, .910 save percentage).