VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – The Canucks have not won two games in a row since mid-January. They can accomplish the rare feat tonight when they host the New York Islanders, who have watched their playoff chances slip away in the last few weeks. The Islanders lost star forward John Tavares to a season ending knee injury at the Olympics and the team then shipped out Thomas Vanek at the trade deadline.
New York forward Kyle Okposo is having a breakout season and says he is frustrated with the Islanders current slide.
“We have to put the puck in the net. It is mental at this point. We give up one and we just sit back. We have to say enough is enough.”
Even with the playoffs out of reach, Islanders coach Jack Capuano says he isn’t throwing in the towel.
“You have to find a way to score goals when you can. At the same time you have to defend and I don’t have the answer for you right now. We just have to find a way as a group to get it done.”
As for the Canucks, they will try and build on Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Calgary. Head Coach John Tortorella says he is happy with the win, but remains concerned with the Canucks lack of offence.
“We need to be in offensive zone more and have the puck. I thought we made a step in the right direction against Calgary, especially after a few abysmal games. Hopefully we can come back and go back-to-back and keep going that way.”
Tortorella adds the Canucks success down the stretch will be contingent on Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows breaking out of their slumps.
“I’m trying to get Henrik in better situations to try and help him, but each game is a different animal. He is a good player. We all know he is a good player. Am I going to sit him? No. He is going to play.”
Sedin will play in his 999th career game tonight. He will hit the 1000-game milestone when the Canucks play Winnipeg on Wednesday.
Eddie Lack will start in net for Vancouver. Ryan Stanton and Brad Richardson are doubtful to play because of nagging injuries. Nicklas Jensen will start for the second straight game since being recalled from Utica.
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and you can watch the game on Sportsnet Pacific.