Gaunce will not make puck drop, Weber slots in at forward.— Vancouver Canucks (@VanCanucks) March 2, 2016
The Canucks look to kick off March on a winning note when they host John Tavares and the New York Islanders.
Whether you commend or condemn the decision to stand pat at yesterday's trade deadline, the fact is the Canucks begin March with the same objective as they would have had regardless of whether or not any moves were made yesterday - win and stay in the post-season hunt as long as possible even if the odds aren't in their favour. Tonight they face an Isles team coming off a disappointing loss in Edmonton and a team that is also desperate for points although their aim is to maintain their spot as opposed to trying to chase one down.
The lack of movement yesterday means the Canucks will ice a line-up quite similar to Sunday's against the Sharks with perhaps a few tweaks. Radim Vrbata, who has missed the two games with a lower-body injury, practiced yesterday and could potentially return tonight. Matt Bartkowski, who had the flu on Sunday, could also slot in. The only player definitely not in the line-up will be Adam Cracknell as he was claimed on waivers by Edmonton yesterday.
Puck drop at 7 pm PT – Live on Sportsnet Pacific, TSN 1040, or online at tsn1040.ca.
Regular Season Record
2015.16 Season Series
Last 10 games
Last 10 head-to-head
Keys to the Game
No more distractions. Now that the whole 'who's going and who's staying?' drama is over, the Canucks can thankfully get back to just playing the game on the ice. That's especially so for the likes of Hamhuis and Vrbata who now know they'll be Canucks for the remainder of the campaign.
Brooklyn flashback.No Canuck was more spectacular in a 2-1 shootout win against the Isles back on January 17 than Ryan Miller who turned in a stunning 47 save performance. He’ll need to be that way again tonight against one of the top shooting teams in the league, led by John Tavares' 190.
Bounce back. All good things come to an end, but the Isles can't be thrilled with having their five-game point streak snapped on Sunday at the hands of the lowly Oilers. They'll want to use that disappointment as motivation and be ready to play right from the get-go.
Canucks Game Preview
By the Numbers
Win percentage for the Canucks against Eastern Conference teams (13-11-7). Tonight is their last game vs the East.
Trade made by the Islanders at yesterday's deadline. They acquired rookie F Shane Prince from Ottawa.
Wins in a row for the Canucks in head-to-head meetings against the Islanders (6-1-0 in last 7).
Game point streak for the Islanders' Casey Cizikas (2-2-4) entering play tonight.
Career shootout goals for Islanders' Frans Nielsen, the NHL's all-time leader. He has one more than Radim Vrbata.
Total shot attempts for the Isles against the Canucks back on January 17. Vancouver had 51.
- The Isles managed to score just one goal in their shootout loss to the Canucks back on January 17 but they certainly could have had a lot more had it not been for the heroics of Ryan Miller that night. They've shown since then that the game against Vancouver was just a rare blip. They've scored a combined 47 goals over their last 15 outings (average of 3.13 per game).
- There has been no shortage of hot sticks for the Isles over their recent run. Among the notables are defenceman Nick Leddy (11 points in last 13 games), and forwards Casey Cizikas (3 goals and 8 points in last 8 games), Kyle Okposo (3 goals and 10 points in last 11 games), and captain John Tavares (8 goals and 19 points in last 14 games).
- Speaking of Leddy, he's trending towards eclipsing his career-high point total of 37. He enters play tonight with 29 points which leads all team blue-liners. He's part of an Isles blue-line that has contributed 22 goals to date so far (13.2 percent of the team's total).
- Another prominent member of the blue-line is Travis Hamonic, the subject of many rumours after he requested a trade earlier this season but finds himself still with the Islanders following the trade deadline. Hamonic leads all team defencemen with 121 shots this season and leads the entire team in average ice-time with 23:45.
- Hamonic is also a big part of the Isles' league-leading penalty kill which sits at 87.4 percent. Their PK brings a perfect four-game streak into tonight's contest (9-for-9). They went a perfect 4-for-4 against the Canucks on January 17.
- Another reason for their strong PK? A solid netminder tandem of Jaroslav Halak and Thomas Greiss. Halak is the clear number one but Greiss has filled in admirably when asked especially when Halak has been out with injury. Both have 16 wins this season but Greiss has done so in 10 fewer starts. Greiss' 2.19 GAA and .930 save percentage are not only better than Halak’s numbers but are personal career-bests.