[SBN Canucks blog - Nucks Misconduct]
Record: 27-18-2 (7th in the west)
Just like that the Pens skate into Vancouver tonight to close out this five-game road trip. It feels like forever since the Pens played a game at home, but given the current 3-1 hold on this trip so far I don't think that's as much of a complaint as it is a general statement.
Tonight's game may be one of the hardest of the trip so far, and that's not just because the Pens are going up against some solid goaltending in Roberto Luongo or a hot scorer in Alex Burrows. As the preview shows on PittsburghPenguins.com, the Pens will be going with John Curry in net tonight. Brent Johnson remains on the IR with what is rumored to be a groin injury and Marc-Andre Fleury will likely be on the bench tonight with a fractured finger. I'm sure he'll be dressed to play if needed, but hopefully he can rest up a bit behind a strong Curry start.
I don't think I'm alone in this, but I have a certain degree of faith in Curry as a starter. Before signing the more experience Brent Johnson during the offseason, I was confident that Curry would hold down the #2 spot behind Fleury. I don't knock the BJ signing at all since he has been pretty solid whenever he's between the pipes, but now it's just an added bonus in a way to be able to call up a guy like Curry. Hopefully it works out for the best. Curry hasn't started an NHL game since December 11, 2008, but did post a slight winning record last season at 2-1.
As for the Canucks (which I guess is the whole point of this preview thing), I think it's safe to say they'll be looking for a win tonight. Vancouver has dropped three straight and Luongo didn't look all that sharp in his last outing against the Wild Wednesday night when he gave up five goals on 19 shots. Someone who has been on fire though for the Canucks is Alex Burrows. Here's a guy who just last week made a run for an NHL record of three-straight games with a hat trick (he fell short), but nonetheless posted a ridiculous nine goals over the last five games. Good as that streak may be, the hype was recently pushed to the backburner after Burrows claimed a referee with a personal vendetta against him cost the Nucks the game when Nashville came to town Monday night.
A few interesting stats from the Penguins media guide that Hooks passed along:
- Vancouver is one of only 2 teams Fleury's never beaten in a regular season game (Minnesota is the other)
- Vancouver is the only NHL team Jordan Staal doesn't have a point against (in 2 games)
- Vancouver is the only NHL team Sidney Crosby doesn't have an assist against (2 games)
Puck and thread drop at 10pm tonight. Latest start of the road trip but thankfully it lands on a Saturday.