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Canucks-Islanders Preview @NHLdotcom
Canucks-Islanders Preview

GAME: Vancouver Canucks (24-15-5) at New York Islanders (19-22-2).

TIME: Saturday, 7 p.m. EST.

The New York Islanders responded positively after a coaching shakeup Thursday. Now, they want to build off that while they still have a chance to make the playoffs.

New coach Brad Shaw looks for his second win in as many games as the Islanders face off against the Vancouver Canucks.

Shaw replaced the fired Steve Stirling Thursday before the Isles' game against the Calgary Flames and will be behind the New York bench for the remainder of the season. The Isles - who had lost eight of their previous nine - got a power-play goal from U.S. Olympic selection Mark Parrish with 7:44 to play in a 3-2 win over the Flames.

"I tip my hat to the players. It isn't easy playing in that environment," said Shaw, whose previous coaching experience was three years with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks' AHL team in Cincinnati. "It's a great opportunity for me. The experience I'm going to go through here no matter what happens will help me in my hockey career."

Fellow U.S. Olympian Rick DiPietro returned from a five-game absence with a knee injury to make 28 saves and earn his first win since Dec. 21.

"We responded," DiPietro said. "We played hard for Brad. It was a good team win against a very good team. We can build on this."

Miroslav Satan had a goal and two assists for New York, which has not won back-to-back games since road victories Dec. 4 against the Detroit Red Wings and Dec. 6 versus the St. Louis Blues.

The Islanders, though, are 3-0-2 in their last five home games against the Canucks and have killed off 18 of 20 short-handed situations since a 6-2 loss March 14, 1998.

New York starts play in 12th place in the Eastern Conference, seven points behind the Tampa Bay Lightning and New Jersey Devils for the eighth and final playoff spot.

Vancouver missed a chance to move into a tie for first place in the Northwest Division with a 3-0 loss Friday to the Devils.

Rookie goaltender Alexander Auld stopped 19 shots through two periods before giving up a pair of third-period goals.

"When you get a chance against that team, you have to score," Canucks forward Todd Bertuzzi said of the Devils. "You're not going to get many. They are very sound defensively."

Vancouver remains in a three-way tie for second place in the Northwest with the Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers. All three teams also are tied for sixth place in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Canucks have been blanked three times this season, all on the road.

STANDINGS: Canucks - 53 points, 2nd place (tied), 2 PB, Northwest Division. Islanders - 40 points, 4th place, 22 PB, Atlantic Division.

TEAM LEADERS: Canucks - Markus Naslund, 22 goals and 47 points; Bertuzzi and Henrik Sedin, 28 assists; Bertuzzi, 74 PIM. Islanders - Jason Blake and Satan, 17 goals; Alexei Yashin, 24 assists and 39 points; Arron Asham, 80 PIM.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Canucks - Power play: 18.8 percent (55 for 292), 9th in NHL. Penalty killing: 81.5 percent (220 for 270), 16th. Islanders - Power play: 17.4 percent (45 for 258), 14th. Penalty killing: 80.6 percent (55 for 284), 25th.

GOALTENDERS: Canucks - Auld (16-11-3, 0 SO, 2.86 GAA); Maxime Ouellet (0-1-1, 0, 4.39). Islanders - DiPietro (14-12-0, 0, 3.40); Wade Dubielewicz (1-3-0, 0, 2.65).

2003-04 SEASON SERIES: Islanders, 1-0.

LAST MEETING: Feb. 3, 2004; Islanders 5-4 (OT). At Uniondale, N.Y., Adrian Aucoin's power-play goal 30 seconds into overtime lifted the Isles to victory. New York's Mariusz Czerkawski and Vancouver's Daniel Sedin each had a goal and two assists.

ROAD/HOME RECORDS: Canucks - 8-11-2 on the road; Islanders - 10-10-1 at home.

Associated Press
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