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Penguins brace for rare visit from Canucks

by Adam Kimelman
CANUCKS (10-4-3) at PENGUINS (9-8-2)

TV -- TSN (HD), RDS, FS-P (HD)

Last 10 --
Vancouver 8-1-1; Pittsburgh 4-5-1

Season series -- This is the only meeting between the teams this season. The Canucks won the last meeting, 6-2 in Vancouver on Jan. 16. The teams haven't met in Pittsburgh since Nov. 22, 2008.

Big Story --
This will be a matchup of two teams that seem to have found their footing after tough starts. The Pens are 3-1-1 in their last five, while the Canucks are 8-1-1 in their last 10 games.

Team Scope:

Canucks -- The Canucks had to settle for just one point Monday in Buffalo, but at least felt good for rallying from a pair of two-goal deficits in what ended as a 4-3 overtime loss.

The Sabres led 2-0 after one period and 3-1 after two, but the Canucks got third-period goals from Alexander Edler and Mikael Samuelsson to force overtime. However, it wasn't all fun when a Dan Hamhuis turnover led to Tyler Myers scoring the winning goal for the Sabres.

"On the good side of things, we got the point," Manny Malhotra told the Vancouver Sun. "We battled back from a two-goal deficit and showed a lot of resiliency. But the way we managed the puck in the overtime period was not very characteristic for us and unacceptable. It's not our recipe for success. If you want to give a team like that, which has so many offensive weapons, if you want to continue to give them turnovers and odd-man opportunities, they're going to do exactly what they did to us tonight."

Penguins -- It was a roller coaster night in Pittsburgh on Monday as the Penguins were down for 57 minutes, flying high for 38 seconds on goals by Chris Kunitz and Matt Cooke, and then down again when the Rangers scored shorthanded to tie the game and then won it in overtime.

"We had a chokehold on the game," Cooke told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

The Penguins looked to be in good shape when immediately after Kunitz's goal with 1:53 left, Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist was penalized. However, 27 seconds after the Pens went ahead, Marc Staal scored shorthanded, and then Ryan Callahan finished a 2-on-1 in overtime to send the Penguins home disappointed.

"We just battled so hard all game," goalie Marc-Andre Fleury said. "It's disappointing."

Who's Hot --
Canucks forwards Daniel Sedin and Henrik Sedin combined for a goal and 5 assists in Monday's loss to the Sabres. The twins have combined for 3 goals and 11 assists in the last three games. … Penguins captain Sidney Crosby had an assist Monday, extending his point streak to six games. He has 6 goals and 7 assists during his streak.

Injury Report --
The Canucks continue to be without defenseman Sami Salo (Achilles), center Alexandre Bolduc (high ankle sprain) and right wing Guillaume Desbiens (broken hand). Defenseman Ryan Parent missed Monday's game with a groin injury.

Penguins forward Jordan Staal continues to recover from a broken hand. Forwards Tyler Kennedy and Mike Comrie missed Monday's game due to illness, but Kennedy practiced Tuesday and coach Dan Bylsma said he expects him to play Wednesday. Defenseman Paul Martin also sat out Tuesday due to being "banged up," according to Bylsma, but Martin also is expected to play against the Canucks.

Stat Pack -- Helping the Canucks fly up the standings has been their extra-potent power play. In their last nine games, Vancouver has scored 12 times in 33 man-advantages (36.4 percent). They entered Tuesday's games second in the League at 29.2 percent.

Puck Drop --
Despite the Pens' wealth of offensive talent, their power play ranks just 23rd in the League at 13 percent, and instead of icing Monday's game late in the third period against the Rangers, it gave up a shorthanded goal.

"The mindset going out on that power play -- and we had plenty of time to discuss it going out -- was that we wanted to get in and set up and kill time by passing it around," Bylsma told reporters following Tuesday's practice. "We went out and didn't take that opportunity, and we tried to shoot the puck. We had a good entry and we had good position with the puck, but we tried to shoot it and it hit a skate and goes the other way. The five guys turned back and played defense. They all came back hard, but we didn't get a good stick on the puck, we didn't lift the stick. The shot got deflected off our guy's stick and ended up in the back of the net. I think when you see that turnover, you see all five guys on their horse ready to play defense, but we didn't take care of the situation. The mistake was looking for a shot so soon on the entry."

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