December 02 2009 11:00AM
The Vancouver Canucks begin a four-game road trip with the first of back-to-back games. Tonight's game in New Jersey features a duel largely considered to be a showdown for the top two candidates for the starting goalie position on the Canadian Olympic team.
Roberto Luongo faces off against Martin Brodeur tonight, and many feel that this is a test for the starting goalie slot on Canada's Olympic roster. Most feel that the starting job is Brodeur's to lose. With Luongo having a less-than-all-star start to the season, it's hard to disagree.
The Devils are one of the hottest teams in the league right now, riding a 3-game winning streak and going 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. However, the Devils have actually been much better on the road than at home this season.
The Canucks have been terrible on the road this season, going 4-8-0 thus far. It's hard to pinpoint exactly one area where the Canucks can improve away from Vancouver. They've scored a mere 29 goals in 12 games away, yet have allowed 40. Their PK has been just as awful, allowing 1 goal per game while short-handed. Their PP has not been much better, where they have already allowed 2 shorthanded goals.
The one bright spot for the Canucks is that they are undefeated against Eastern opponents so far this year, going 3-0-0. Hopefully they can use that as motivation tonight against such a strong opponent.
With two world-class goalies squaring off, while facing a Jacques Lemaire-coached team, tonight's game figures to be a bit of a boring chess match. Frankly it's going to be a horribly boring game. Thank god it starts early so we can get it done quickly.
I don't often do predictions, but I'll say this game ends 2-1 for the Devils in OT, with the Canucks finally picking up their first loser point of the season.