Preview: Canucks at Penguins
In the midst of a season-long six game road trip that spans three time zones over the course of 12 days, the Vancouver Canucks couldn’t get their legs under them as they seemed to run out of gas during a 2-1 loss in Philadelphia on Monday. With a pair of wins, a pair of losses and a pair of games remaining on their road trip, the Canucks will head to Pittsburgh on Wednesday to take on the Penguins.
Vancouver carried some momentum into Philadelphia after securing impressive road victories over Nashville and Washington but after J.T. Miller scored his 10th of the season to take a 1-0 lead at the first intermission Monday, the Canucks couldn’t generate any more scoring chances and were outshot 26-8 over the final two periods. “We just didn’t win enough battles,” Miller told reporters. “They looked like they were really good and we looked like we were slow. I think we know as a group that we need to be accountable and hold ourselves to a higher standard than what we showed today.” Pittsburgh scratched out a 3-2 overtime victory Monday against Calgary thanks in part to forward Alex Galchenyuk removing the monkey from his back and scoring his first goal with the Penguins in his 15th game. “Obviously, when it crossed the goal line I was very emotional,” said Galchenyuk, who was acquired in an offseason trade by the Penguins that saw Phil Kessel head to Arizona. “It was a great feeling. And even better that we got the win.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, Sportsnet Pacific (Vancouver), AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
ABOUT THE CANUCKS (12-9-4): Thatcher Demko has done admirably in a backup role as the 23-year-old goalie owns a 2.45 goals against average and .919 save percentage in nine starts (5-3-1). “There are things to take out of every game.” Demko told reporters after stopping 32-of-34 shots Monday. “We were close there. That’s a positive. We didn’t have our best and we were still in the game.” Defenseman Jordie Benn accounted for a team-high five of the Canucks season-low 17 shots Monday as the nine-year veteran entered the game tied for 14th on the team with 22 shots and hasn’t potted a goal since March when he was a member of the Montreal Canadiens.
ABOUT THE PENGUINS (13-7-4): Overtime has become commonplace for the Penguins as seven of their 11 games this month have gone to the extra frame with forward Jake Guentzel’s game-winner Monday marking the third time they’ve taken the extra point. Defenseman Kris Letang returned against the Flames after missing eight games (lower body), while captain Sidney Crosby has missed the past seven (sports hernia surgery) with the Penguins managing a 3-1-3 record. Tristan Jarry boasts a 1.82 goals against average after making 32 saves Monday and has allowed two or fewer goals in six of his seven outings this season.
1. Vancouver has been held to a single goal seven times in 13 November games.
2. Pittsburgh C Evgeni Malkin was held without a point Monday for the second time in his last 10 games and has amassed three goals and 10 assists over that span.
3. The Canucks lead the league with 27 goals and 103 opportunities on the power play. Their 26.2-percent success rate ranked fourth behind Edmonton, Tampa Bay and Boston entering Tuesday.
PREDICTION: Canucks 2, Penguins 1