The Vancouver Canucks just embarked on an NHL-record 14 game road stretch so GM Place can prepare to host the Winter Olympics, where in two weeks an influx of the world's top offensive talent will hit the ice.
It's hard to envision any group matching the production of the Canucks' top line.
Alex Burrows and Henrik and Daniel Sedin single-handedly sparked a Vancouver comeback win to open its lengthy trip, and it'll try to carry the team to an eighth straight victory Tuesday night against the struggling Montreal Canadiens.
With eight games before and six following the Olympic break, the Canucks (34-18-2) won't play another game at home until March 13, and GM Place was the site of five wins on their six-game winning streak heading into the trip.
Vancouver appeared destined to start its journey on a sour note, falling behind Toronto 3-0 after one period Saturday. But Burrows scored a short-handed goal in the second and he and his linemates combined for four more goals in the third, lifting the Canucks to a 5-3 victory.
"We're really patient out there," said Henrik Sedin, who had a goal and an assist to increase his NHL-best point total to 78. "We know if we don't score in the first two periods, we're going to get chances. And to have that feeling on a line, it makes a big difference -- instead of starting to force things, to cheat and do the things you're not supposed to do."
Henrik Sedin already has surpassed his career high with 25 goals, and with four points against Montreal (25-25-6) can match his career high with 82. He's already done it once this season -- scoring two goals and assisting on two others in a 7-1 home rout of the Canadiens on Oct. 7.
Daniel Sedin added three assists in that game, the last of which came on Burrows' goal 11:58 into the third and finally chased Carey Price. The fifth overall pick of the 2005 draft had only once allowed seven goals previously.
Jaroslav Halak made 34 saves in a 3-0 win in the Canucks' last visit to Montreal, on Feb. 24, Vancouver's only loss in the series' past 13 games.
The Sedin twins and Burrows have combined for 14 goals and 25 assists during the seven-game winning streak, and Burrows posted a club-record 15 goals in January. Vancouver hasn't won eight straight since a 10-game run Nov. 9-30, 2002.
Montreal, meanwhile, couldn't match the third-period success of the Canucks' top line during its entire three-game road trip. After scoring one goal in losses to Florida and Tampa Bay, the Canadiens did rally from a 2-0 deficit before falling 3-2 in overtime to red-hot Ottawa on Saturday.
"It's disappointing, for sure," said Benoit Pouliot, who had one of Montreal's two power-play goals. "You can't fall behind by one or two at the start of every game and expect to come back all the time, that's tough. We showed some character and ... it's just too bad that we couldn't get a second point."
Pouliot has continually surprised since coming over from Minnesota on Nov. 23. He has 11 goals in 18 games with the Canadiens -- two more than he'd scored in the first 65 games of his career.
Montreal will need continued production from Pouliot with leading goal scorer Mike Cammalleri (26) to miss about six weeks with a knee injury suffered against Ottawa.
Halak will likely start for Montreal considering his shutout of Vancouver last season and his 8-3-2 record with a 2.06 goals-against average since Dec. 19. He's 7-2-1 with a 1.85 GAA at Bell Centre.
Roberto Luongo is 4-2-0 with a 1.18 GAA in his last six games versus Montreal.