The Canucks (34-10-9, 77 points) place their league leading home record up against the NHL’s third worst road record tonight as the Ottawa Senators (17-28-8, 42 points) come to town. Having lost 15 of their last 16 games, the Senators now hold the third worst record in the NHL, above only the New York Islanders (41 points) and Edmonton Oilers (38 points).
The Canucks currently lead the NHL's overall standings and rank first in faceoffs, second on the power play and third in offense, defense and the penalty kill. The Canucks boast the NHL’s best goal differential (+54), the Senator’s, the league’s worst (-57).
On paper, it’s a matchup between two teams that couldn’t have less in common.
Trap game: when a great team looks beyond a lesser opponent, assuming they can coast to victory without bringing their A-game. It’s a pitfall this year’s Vancouver Canucks pride themselves on never falling victim to and, to a man, every Canuck player and coach alike vows not to take the Ottawa Senators lightly.
“Every game is the same for us, it doesn’t matter what the situation is, who we are playing, what the standings are we want to have the same approach and mentality coming in here, work hard and play our game,” said Coach Alain Vigneault. “There are no given points in this league, anybody team can beat anybody anytime, so we have to be ready to play”.
Roberto Luongogets the start in net tonight. The NHL’s hottest goalie over the past two months has a career 7-11-1 mark against the Ottawa Senators, most of the losses coming when he was with Florida Panthers against some very good early 2000’s Senators teams.
“We’re getting ready for a real good opponent tonight, we know they are going to play real hard and we’re gonna do the same thing,” said Luongo.
One lineup change tonight asAndrew Albertsslots in after missing eight games with a shoulder injury. He takes Chris Tanev’s spot on the third defense pairing, playing alongsideKeith Ballard.