The Vancouver Canucks (23-13-8) search for their first win of 2014 when they play host to Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins (31-12-1) at Rogers Arena tonight. The Canucks are winless in four (0-2-2) after dropping both games in Southern California over the weekend.
Sunday’s game in Anaheim saw the Canucks score multiple power play goals in a game for just the second time this season. Both Daniel and Henrik Sedin were in on all three goals against the Ducks. It was Henrik’s first three-point night since the home opener October 5th versus Edmonton. The game in Anaheim also marked the first time either Sedin and Ryan Kesler had scored on the same night since October 28th against Washington. Tom Sestito played a career-high 16:16 against the Ducks including 7:11 of the opening period.
Eddie Lack will start his second straight game and his fifth in the past seven outings. Including relief duty, he has appeared in seven of the team’s last eight contests. Darren Archibald was recalled from Utica this morning. This is his second stint of the season with the Canucks. It appears both David Booth and Dale Weise will be healthy scratches.
Seven Canucks were named to their respective countries Olympic teams: Roberto Luongo & Dan Hamhuis (CAN), Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin and Alex Edler (SWE), Ryan Kesler (USA) and Yannick Weber (SWI).
The Penguins arrive here on the heels of a 6-5 home ice victory over Winnipeg on Sunday. The Pens have won 11 of 13 and 20 of their last 26 games. With a victory tonight, Dan Bylsma will become the Penguins all-time coaching wins leader. He enters the game tied with Eddie Johnston at 232.
These are the two best penalty killing teams in the NHL. Both teams have given up a league-low 15 goals while short-handed. In addition, the Pens have best PP in NHL (26.0%).
The Penguins are 23-2 when opening the scoring. Their .920 win percentage is best in the league in those situations.
James Neal has 6+6=12 in his last five games included in that stretch a 5-point game vs CBJ and a pair of 3-point games against Carolina and Winnipeg.
This is Sidney Crosby’s first game in Rogers Arena since the Olympic golden goal on February 28, 2010. He has only played here twice in his NHL career – December 7, 2008 & January 16, 2010. He was with the team when it opened the 2011-12 season in Vancouver, but was still recovering from concussions. Has 0+0=0 and is -4 in 2 career games at Rogers Arena.
Crosby is on pace for 42+74=116 if plays a full season. All would be the second best totals of his career.