Canucks about to go up in the air
The Vancouver Canucks will soon make history. Just not in a way they'd like.
Following Wednesday night's home game against the St. Louis Blues (10 p.m. ET), the Canucks embark on an unprecedented 14-game road trip that coincides with the Winter Olympics.
The longest voyage in NHL history begins Saturday in Toronto (CBC, CBCSports.ca, 7 p.m. ET), followed by stops in Montreal, Ottawa and Boston.
Then it's down to the state of Florida for two games, up to Columbus, over to Minnesota, back to Columbus again, across to Detroit and Chicago, and down to Nashville and Colorado before the trip ends — mercifully — in sunny Phoenix on March 10.
Eight of those games come before the Feb. 12-28 Olympics — the reason the team is being kicked out of town — and six after.
By our count, the Canucks will fly more than 16,000 kilometres, and that doesn't even include the plane rides that players, coaches and staff might take during the NHL's Olympic break.
Before it's over, you can just imagine Roberto Luongo turning into the Canadian version of George Clooney's character in the film Up in the Air — a master at collecting frequent-flier points, avoiding baggage-claim lineups, and knowing the best rib joint in every town in America.
Unlike Ryan Bingham, though, the Canucks are more comfortable at home than on the road. Vancouver's 22 wins in its own building (in 30 games) are the most in the NHL, though that's partly because no team has played more times at home (the Canucks and Senators are tied for the league lead at 30).
Away from GM Place, it's a different story. Vancouver has just 10 victories in 22 road contests, though they've won two of three in the New Year, with a loss to Minnesota sandwiched between wins over Dallas and Edmonton.
The 3-2 overtime decision against the Oilers on Jan. 20 is the lone road win in the Canucks' current five-game winning streak, which Vancouver kept alive by beating the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 on Monday.
Henrik Sedin notched a goal and an assist to increase his league-leading points total to 76 — a half-dozen ahead of Alex Ovechkin. Daniel Sedin chipped in two assists — including a YouTube-worthy between-the-legs drop pass to Brad Lukowich for the go-head goal — and now has 11 points in his last five games.
St. Louis is coming off Monday's 2-0 road win over the reeling Calgary Flames. Ty Conklin made 34 saves for his third shutout of the season.