NHL Hockey

Final 1 2 3 Tot
Vancouver 1 1 1 3
Florida 1 3 0 4
4:00 PM PT5:00 PM MT6:00 PM CT7:00 PM ET0:00 GMT8:00 5:00 PM MST7:00 PM EST4:00 UAE (+1)19:00 ETNaN:� BRT, January 14, 2023
FLA Live Arena, Sunrise, Florida  Attendance: 17,584

Canucks visit Panthers looking to end losing streak

Vancouver Canucks at Florida Panthers

  1. The Panthers have won their last four games against the Canucks, including a 5-1 victory in Vancouver this season (Dec. 1). This is the longest winning streak by either team in the 40-game history between the Panthers and Canucks.
  2. Vancouver has lost its last three games, by scores of 7-4, 5-4 and 5-4. It's only the second time since 2005-06 that an NHL team lost three consecutive games despite scoring at least four goals in each game (Ottawa: Nov. 19-23, 2018). The Canucks have done that twice before: Oct. 16-20, 1982 and Oct. 21-24, 1987.
  3. Quinn Hughes tallied one goal and two assists in the Canucks' loss at Florida on Thursday. It was the first three-point game this season for Hughes, who recorded three or more points in a game six times last season, tied for fourth most among NHL defensemen.
  4. Elias Pettersson has 27 shots on goal (but only one goal) over his last four games. That's the most shots on goal by a Canucks player over a four-game span since Pavel Bure had 30 shots in four games from Jan. 10-15, 1998.
  5. Florida is the only NHL team that has scored that has scored at least two goals in every one of its home games this season. The Panthers have scored no goals or one goal in five road games this season.
  6. Matthew Tkachuk has a team-high 11 multiple-point home games this season, which ties him for third most in the NHL. Those 11 multiple-point games account for all 27 points he has scored on home ice this season (six home games with no points, zero with one point).

The Vancouver Canucks, who have lost five straight road games, could be facing a major controversy when they visit the Florida Panthers on Saturday night in Sunrise, Fla.

It will be interesting to see if Canucks coach Bruce Boudreau keeps star defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson on the bench.

The 31-year-old Ekman-Larsson, who was acquired via trade with the Arizona Coyotes in July 2021, was benched for Thursday's 5-4 loss at the Tampa Bay Lightning. He is in the fourth season of an eight-year, $66 million contract.

A Canucks alternate captain, Ekman-Larsson has 19 points in 40 games this season, which is a better pace than his 29 points in 79 games in 2021-2022.

However, he was plus-five last season. This season, he has a minus-14 rating, which is the worst among Vancouver's defensemen. Ekman-Larsson's goals-against per 60 minutes have risen from 1.99 last season to 3.61 in the current campaign.

"I think he can be better," Boudreau said. "But we have a lot of guys who can be better. Now it's about accountability.

"(The benching) is something you don't want to do. He's arguably our best defenseman, but sometimes you have to (act) when you think it's the best thing for the team. That's apparently where I am."

It was Ekman-Larsson's first healthy scratch since March 29, 2011, when he was a 19-year-old rookie. He now has a full no-movement clause in his contract, and he carries a yearly cap hit of $7.25 million.

Boudreau, meanwhile, may be on the hot seat as the Canucks have lost three straight games overall, allowing 17 goals during that span.

The Panthers had no trouble with Vancouver's defense, either, beating the Canucks 5-1 on Dec. 1.

Florida's Sam Bennett tallied twice in that game, and Matthew Tkachuk had one score and two assists. Spencer Knight got the win, making 32 saves.

The Panthers are coming off a 4-2 loss at the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night.

Vancouver will actually have the shorter trip to the arena on Saturday as the Canucks will make the trek from Tampa.

As for the Panthers' loss on Thursday, Florida coach Paul Maurice was upset his squad couldn't convert on a 5-on-3 power play in the third period.

"That was the turning point," Maurice said.

With Knight now on injured reserve, the Panthers are likely to start Sergei Bobrovsky in goal on Saturday. Bobrovsky is 10-13-1 with a 3.28 goals-against average and an .895 save percentage. Those numbers are down from last season, when Bobrovsky led the league in wins (39-7-3, 2.67 GAA, .913 SP).

Offensively, Tkachuk leads the Panthers in goals (22) and assists (30). He has a five-game points streak with five goals and four assists during that span.

But Panthers star Aleksander Barkov has struggled this season with just 10 goals and 23 assists. That's still 33 points in 33 games, but Barkov -- Florida's captain -- has a higher standard. Last season, he scored a career-high 39 goals and had 88 points in 67 games.

Elias Pettersson leads Vancouver in points (50). Bo Horvat tops the squad in goals (29), and Quinn Hughes has the most assists (33).

--Field Level Media

Updated January 13, 2023

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