Enemy Territory

Tuukka Rask, Shawn MatthiasThe Canucks are back in enemy territory as they get set to take on the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. These two clubs clashed a couple weeks ago in Vancouver with the Canucks running away with a 5-2 victory and tonight they will look to sweep the season series.

Ryan Miller is sidelined for 4-6 weeks at minimum which means Eddie Lack is the starter from this day forward. The Canucks recalled Jacob Markstrom from Utica (AHL) to serve as backup.

Nick Bonino was on the ice for practice this morning and skated on the second line alongside Radim Vrbata and Shawn Matthias. He will be a game time decision. Bonino has been out since February 9 when he was hit by a Ryan Suter slap shot. The injury woes continue as Alex Burrows has missed the last two games with a lower body injury. There are eight starters out of the lineup due to injury.

The Sedins are having a bounce back year and are proving they can still produce. They have already surpassed their point total last year and there are still 23 games remaining on the season.

The number one line will stay intact with Zack Kassian playing alongside the twins. The Kassian experiment has worked thus far with three goals over his last two games and six in his past eight.

Boston has a three-point lead over Florida for the final playoff spot in the East, while Vancouver is three points ahead of Los Angeles, Calgary and San Jose for second place in the Pacific Division.

Puck drop is set for 4pm.




Big Bad Bruins

bruinsThe Canucks (30-20-3) get set to host the team that hoisted the Stanley Cup in their own building during the 2011 Stanley Cup Final.  I’d prefer we never mention the game seven disappointment but fans can’t help but reminisce when these two clubs meet.

Tonight marks the fourth time the rivals square off since the 2011 Stanley Cup Final. It’s the second time the Bruins (28-19-4) are in Rogers Arena since the final. On a positive note the Canucks have won two of their last three meetings against the Bruins.

Former Bruins assistant GM, Jim Benning will face Boston for the time since he joined the Canucks as General Manager. Ryan Miller will get the start which will make it his 600th career NHL Game.

Newcomer Brandon McMillan did practice with the team but will not suit up. Head Coach Willie Desjardins confirmed that Nick Bonino is sidelined with a lower body injury but expects him to be back in the lineup soon.

Zack Kassian is riding a three-game goal-scoring streak and the Canucks are in the middle of their highest-scoring three-game stretch of the season registering 13 goals in their last three games.

The Canucks sit in seventh in the Western Conference with 63 points. The Flames are in eighth tied with the Canucks and the Kings are not far behind with 60 points in tenth place. The standings will constantly change for the remainder of the season and every point is crucial in pursuit of a playoff spot.

Following tonight’s tilt the Canucks travel to the Saddledome to take on the Flames Saturday night.

Puck drop is set for 7pm tonight.




Black Hawk Down

chiTonight the Canucks (29-20-3) will look to bounce back following a loss when they visit the Madhouse on Madison to take on the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks (33-18-3) are fourth in the Western Conference and lead the NHL in penalty killing with 87.5 percent. That’s a major advantage against a Canucks team that ranks 16th in the NHL on the power play with 18.2 percent.

After a lacklustre effort against the Wild the Canucks find themselves barely holding onto the eighth and final spot. With 61 points they sit just three points ahead of the 11th seed. If the goal is to make the playoffs then every point is crucial with only 29 games remaining in the regular season.

If recent history repeats itself then fans can be somewhat confident against the likes of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane. The Canucks are 8-3-2 in their last 13 meetings with the Hawks and have outscored them 34-29. Do these numbers really make a difference? I tend to lean on the no side but whatever helps you sleep at night.

Tonight marks game two of an eight game home stand for the Blackhawks. The last time these two teams met the Canucks won 4-1 in Rogers Arena.

Ronald Kenins will step into the lineup and Adam Clendening will face his former team for the first time. Nick Bonino is sidelined with a lower body injury.

Eddie Lack will make his 50th career start in the NHL.

Puck drop is set for 5pm in the Windy City.

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