After a promising start to their seven-game road trip that began with back-to-back wins in Philadelphia and Buffalo, the Canucks have come back down to earth in their last couple of games dropping consecutive outings in Pittsburgh and, most recently, in Columbus on Sunday. The Islanders might be the perfect tonic for a Canucks team looking to snap their winless skid as they have just one win in their last five outings although the Blue Jackets were a slumping bunch as well before they knocked off Vancouver 3-1.
The Islanders have been off since suffering a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the Hurricanes on Saturday – a loss that snapped their 10-game point streak on home ice which dated back to last season. Roberto Luongo will return to the crease tonight for Vancouver after getting Sunday off while Evgeni Nabokov figures to get the call for Long Island. The Islanders will be without offensive defenceman Lubomir Visnovksy and ex-Canuck Michael Grabner tonight. Visnovsky was put on injured reserve with a concussion while Grabner was handed a two-game suspension for his high hit on Carolina's Nathan Gerbe on Saturday.
Puck drop at 4 pm PT - Live on Sportsnet Pacific, The TEAM 1040, or online at teamradio.ca.
Keys to the Game
Come prepared for an old-fashioned shootout. The Islanders may be struggling in the wins column but certainly not in the goals department. They're averaging 3.00 goals per game this season so the Canucks need to come prepared for a back-and-forth affair that will probably come down to last goal wins.
Get the power play really rolling. After bumping the man-advantage slump on Sunday, the Canucks hope that is a sign their power play is turning the corner and can become a difference-maker again starting tonight facing an Islanders PK that has surrendered goals in three of their last four games.
Nabokov shuts the door. The Isles' netminder has put up some pretty strong career numbers against the Canucks – mostly compiled during his time in San Jose – and if he can keep that trend going it could be another frustrating night for Vancouver's shooters who have had plenty of chances in recent games but not as many goals as they would like to show for it.
By the Numbers
Years since the Canucks' last visit to Long Island – a 4-3 Vancouver shootout win on Jan. 11, 2011.
Straight games played without a regulation loss for the Canucks at Long Island (2-0-2).
Game point streak for Henrik Sedin coming into tonight's game (2-4-6).
Game point streak for John Tavares coming into tonight's game (4-6-10).
Captains in Islanders team history, the latest being John Tavares who was named to the position back on September 1.
Games played by Roberto Luongo against the team that drafted him. He has a 7-10-3 career record versus the Islanders.