Leafs, Canucks Start Back-to-back Tilts
November 22, 2003
GAME: Toronto Maple Leafs (7-6-5-2) at Vancouver Canucks (12-4-2-2).
TIME: Saturday, 10 p.m. EST.
The Vancouver Canucks look to remain the only Western Conference team without a home loss when they host a Toronto Maple Leafs club trying to avoid going winless on its six-game road trip.
Vancouver has opened a three-game homestand with overtime victories over the Montreal Canadiens and Chicago Blackhawks, improving to 9-0-1 at General Motors Place this season.
The Philadelphia Flyers are the league's only other undefeated team at home (8-0-2).
In each of the last two games, the Canucks fell behind 2-0 only to see their strong corps of defencemen lead them back to victories.
Tuesday's 5-4 win over Montreal saw the Canucks' Ed Jovanovski tie the game in the third period before Mattias Ohlund scored in overtime.
In Thursday's 3-2 win over Chicago, Jovanovski and Bryan Allen scored to knot the game at 2, and Sami Salo's goal at 2:59 of the extra period gave the Canucks at least one point for the fourth straight game (2-0-0-2).
Vancouver defencemen have scored seven of the team's eight goals in the last two games, and have combined for an NHL-best 18 goals and 51 points this season.
"They want an active 'D' and they want us to be active in the offence and get pucks through and get them on net," said Allen, who tied Thursday's game 5:59 into the third, becoming the last Canucks defenceman to score a goal this season.
Vancouver will be looking to extend its home unbeaten streak against a Toronto team that is 0-2-2-1 in the first five games of its trip.
The Maple Leafs suffered their second straight defeat on Thursday, falling 3-2 to the Edmonton Oilers.
"We're still making too many mistakes," Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin said. "We had turnovers and mistakes all over the ice. Bottom line, we're not playing good enough to win hockey games. We have to pull out of this as a group."