Canucks welcome familiar face when Bo Horvat, Islanders visit

League: NHL

Posted on: 15 Nov, 2023 at 01:25 AM

Credit: Thomas Salus-USA TODAY Sports

Bo Horvat is set to finally return to Vancouver.

Horvat will return to the city he called home for nine seasons for the first time on Wednesday when the New York Islanders take on the host Canucks.

"It's going to be an emotional night," said Horvat, the former Vancouver captain. "I had a lot of great memories in Vancouver, so to revisit the city, it's going to be a little weird going into the visitors dressing room. But I had so many great memories there, it's going to be a fun night."

Horvat, who has four goals and seven assists in 13 games this season, was drafted ninth overall by the Canucks in 2013 and posted 420 points (201 goals, 219 assists) in 621 regular-season games, plus 16 points (11 goals, five assists) in 23 playoff games with the team. He was dealt to New York in January.

As important as Horvat's return has become, he and the Islanders are more in need of a victory. New York, which opened a four-game road swing with Monday's 4-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers, is on a five-game skid, with four of those losses coming in regulation time.

The Islanders have been outscored 17-6 in their past four games and have surrendered four or more goals in each of their past five outings.

"It's frustrating. It's not fun right now," New York captain Anders Lee said. "But we've got to find some joy in this game, enjoy the challenge that we're in right now and come out of it together."

The Canucks are back home after Sunday's 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens, capping a road trip in which Vancouver won two of three games and continued its strong run.

Vancouver is on a 9-1-1 roll in its past 11 games and is sitting second in the Western Conference. The lone regulation loss during that stretch came the night before Sunday's victory, as the Canucks fell 5-2 at Toronto.

"Good teams come out after a loss and play well, and I thought we did that," Vancouver goaltender Casey DeSmith said. "I thought we defended hard, and I think we've been doing that all year. And if we keep doing it, we're a good team because we have a lot of guys who can score and put the puck in the net. So as long as we keep defending hard, we're really tough to beat."

The Canucks finished well outside of the playoff picture last season but have posted one of the best starts in club history.

"The guys have embraced what we're trying to do," Vancouver coach Rich Tocchet said. "We have a long way to go but the communication with the group is outstanding. If there's a problem, we deal with it and they're not afraid to hear it."

Among those riding high offensively is defenseman Filip Hronek, who has collected 13 assists during a 10-game point streak.

The Montreal win did come at a price for the Canucks. Defenseman Carson Soucy is out week-to-week after he was hit in the back of the leg by a shot. Akito Hirose, who has nine NHL games under his belt, was summoned from the AHL.

--Field Level Media