MAPLE LEAFS (10-4-0) at CANUCKS (9-5-1)
TV: NHLN-US, CBC
Last 10: Toronto 7-3-0; Vancouver 6-3-1
Season series: This is the first of two meetings between the Toronto Maple Leafs and Vancouver Canucks. In their most recent matchup, on Feb. 18, 2012, the Sedin twins teamed up to power the Canucks to a 6-2 win at Rogers Arena. Daniel Sedin had a goal and three assists, while Henrik Sedin set up four goals. Linemate Alexandre Burrows scored twice.
Big story: The Canucks figure to see a vastly improved Maple Leafs team that since the last time these teams met has ended a lengthy Stanley Cup Playoffs drought and gotten off to a fast start in the 2013-14 season. Phil Kessel was shut out Wednesday by the Calgary Flames, but is still among the NHL leaders with nine goals.
Maple Leafs: Even without Kessel, Toronto had more than enough firepower to double up Calgary 4-2 at Scotiabank Saddledome. Joffrey Lupul and James van Riemsdyk each scored his seventh goal of the season in the opening period, with van Riemsdyk really shifting the momentum on a shorthander with four seconds left.
Of course, Jonathan Bernier's season-high 41 saves also had something to do with the Maple Leafs getting two points. Bernier made more than 30 saves for the seventh time in nine starts.
"They're a good team in that building," Bernier said. "I've played here many times and they come out really hard. I just want to make those saves and keep my team in the game."
Canucks: Unlike the teams it's chasing in the Pacific Division, the San Jose Sharks and Anaheim Ducks, home ice hasn't always been kind to Vancouver. While the Sharks and Ducks are each a perfect 5-0-0 in their own arenas, the Canucks are a mere 3-3-0 following Wednesday's 2-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings.
The Sedins combined for the game's opening goal, credited to Daniel at 14:12 of the first period, but the visitors struck for a pair in the second and an otherwise strong effort by Roberto Luongo (25 saves) went to waste.
"It was a sloppy game from both teams, a lot of play in the neutral zone and turnovers and not a whole lot of chances," Henrik Sedin said.
Who's hot: Van Riemsdyk has two goals and five assists during a five-game point streak for the Maple Leafs. Nazem Kadri has two goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. … Henrik Sedin has three goals and nine assists during a 10-game point streak for the Canucks. Daniel Sedin has four goals and three assists during a five-game point streak.
Injury report: Toronto defenseman Mark Fraser (knee) and forwards Nikolai Kulemin (ankle) and Tyler Bozak (lower body) are on injured reserve. … Vancouver forward David Booth (lower body) is out about another week. Forwards Jordan Schroeder (ankle), Jannik Hansen (upper body) and Dale Weise (lower body) are on injured reserve.
|J. van Riemsdyk||13||7||6||13||+8||12||2||0|