Canucks try to rebound

Coming off a loss to the Rangers last night, the Canucks are still the top team in the NHL....

Coming off a loss to the Rangers last night, the Canucks are still the top team in the NHL. (REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)

Sports Network

, Last Updated: 3:09 PM ET

The Vancouver Canucks will try to bounce back from their first regulation loss in over a month when they visit the Washington Capitals in tonight's showdown at Verizon Center.

The Canucks posted a 14-0-3 record from Dec. 8-Jan. 11 before getting dealt a 1-0 decision by the host New York Rangers on Thursday. It marked Vancouver's first regulation setback since losing to St. Louis, 3-2, on Dec. 5.

Vancouver still enters tonight as the top team in the NHL with 62 points. The club had also won five straight on the road before Thursday's loss in NYC and the Canucks, who are playing the third test of a five-game road trip tonight, are 13-6-3 as the visiting team this season.

Wojtek Wolski scored his first goal in a Rangers uniform and Henrik Lundqvist recorded his sixth shutout of the season with 31 saves to lead New York to the 1-0 victory over the Canucks.

Cory Schneider suffered the loss despite stopping 34-of-35 shots for the Canucks, who were shut out for just the second time this season. Vancouver was last blanked at Montreal on Nov. 9.

Roberto Luongo is expected to resume his starting role in net tonight. He is 16-10-0 with three ties and a 2.26 goals-against average in 31 career games against Washington.

The Capitals, meanwhile, will try to avoid a third straight loss when they host the Canucks tonight. Washington is coming off consecutive road losses to Florida and Tampa Bay, giving the Caps back-to-back defeats for the first time since an eight-game skid from Dec. 2-18.

Washington, which trails Tampa Bay by two points for the Southeast Division lead, was dealt a shutout loss by the Lightning on Wednesday at St. Pete Times Forum.

Dwayne Roloson made 23 saves as the Bolts recorded the 3-0 victory over Washington. It marked the second time Roloson has shut out the Caps since the veteran came to Tampa Bay in a trade with the New York Islanders a few weeks ago. The 41-year-old also blanked the Capitals in his Lightning debut on January 4, 1-0 in Washington.

Semyon Varlamov stopped 35 shots for the Capitals, who failed to collect at least a point for the first time since December 18. They had gone 6-0-3 in their previous nine games.

"I thought we came out with a lot of emotion and were ready to play," said Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau. "Even after their second goal, I thought there was a lot of life on the bench."

The Caps have played the last two games without winger Alexander Semin, who is questionable for tonight's test with a lower-body injury. Washington defenceman Tom Poti was forced to leave Wednesday's game with a lower-body injury and is also questionable for tonight.

Tonight marks the first of two straight on home ice for the Capitals, who will also host Ottawa on Sunday. Washington has won three of its last five on home ice and is 15-4-5 at Verizon Center this season.

Vancouver posted a home win over the Caps in the only meeting between the clubs in 2009-10, giving the Canucks their ninth win in the last 12 matchups against Washington. Vancouver has also won four of its last six in D.C.


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