Preview: Devils at Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks have gone nearly two months without posting back-to-back victories, a streak they can halt when they face another struggling team in the visiting New Jersey Devils on Friday night. The Devils are in a similar drought -- albeit shorter -- and have to chance to notch consecutive wins for the first time in a month.
The Canucks had lost five of six (1-4-1) before skating to a 4-1 victory over the New York Rangers on Wednesday night. It was only the fourth victory in 14 games (4-10-0) against Metropolitan Division opponents for Vancouver, which also will be looking to avenge a 4-0 loss at New Jersey on Dec. 31. Defenseman Sami Vatanen and Miles Wood each had a goal and an assist in the New Year's Eve victory for the Devils, who halted a seven-game slide (0-6-1) with a 6-3 victory over Edmonton on Wednesday night. It marks the fifth stop on a six-game road trip for New Jersey, which is tied with Ottawa for the fewest wins (nine) away from home in the league.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, MSG-Plus (New Jersey), Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver)
ABOUT THE DEVILS (28-36-9): After struggling through a 15-game goal drought in which he was limited to only one assist, forward Blake Coleman has scored in each of the last three contests to push his season total to 21 -- second to Kyle Palmieri. Rookie forward Kevin Rooney scored for the third time in six games and also collected an assist for the first two-point performance of his career. Palmieri picked up an assists on the goal by Rooney to reach 50 points for the third time and move him with seven of his career high set in 2015-16.
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (29-32-9): Forward Antoine Roussel will be sidelined for the rest of the season due to a knee injury that occurred after taking an elbow to the head from New York's Brandon Lemieux. Roussel, who will not require surgery, collected an assist in each of his last two games to finish the season with a career-high 31 points. Also on the injury front, rookie Quinn Hughes' NHL debut will be delay after an MRI exam revealed that the 2018 No. 7 pick has a bone bruise in his right ankle and will be re-evaluated in a week.
1. Canucks F Brock Boeser has scored in back-to-back contests to extend his point streak to four games.
2. Devils G Mackenzie Blackwood gave up nine goals to Calgary on Tuesday but blanked the Canucks in December.
3. Canucks G Jacob Markstrom is 1-7-1 with a 2.91 goals-against average versus New Jersey.
PREDICTION: Canucks 4, Devils 3