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.

 

 

 

Canucks look to take a bite out of the Big Apple

1994The Canucks are in Madison Square Garden to take on Alain Vigneault and the New York Rangers. Tonight’s tilt marks the first of a five game eastern road trip that will see the likes of the Devils, Islanders, Bruins, and the Sabres.

The Rangers are looking to get their fifth straight win as they return home from a perfect road trip. The offense has been clicking for the Rangers tallying at least five goals in their last four outings.  In the first meeting between these clubs the Rangers registered the first five goals in a 5-1 pounding on Dec. 13.

Brandon McMillan will make his Canucks debut in place for Zack Kassian who is a healthy scratch tonight. Chris Higgins has quietly been producing with a six-game point streak, which is tied for his career-high.

Ryan Miller gets the start for the Canucks. Miller is 0-3-1 with a 3.66 GAA & .887 SV% in his last 5 starts against the Rangers.

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.

Sharks are in town

shark-sushiThe San Jose Sharks are in town to take on the Vancouver Canucks in Rogers Arena. It’s a battle between two clubs in the Pacific Division that are fighting for playoff positioning. The Canucks are two points behind the Sharks and with a win can continue to add insurance to their slim lead on teams fighting for the eighth and final spot.

The Canucks (28-18-3) are coming off one of their best wins on Tuesday against the Winnipeg Jets. The team came together and put together a galvanizing victory that should increase their confidence for the rest of their homestand.

The Canucks defensive group continues to suffer as Chris Tanev is out with an injury that he suffered in the second period against the Jets. The depleted group will have to go without Tanev, Corrado and Bieska.

Ryan Miller will get the start against the Sharks. Miller is 2-0-0 against the Sharks this season and 9-1-1 versus them in his career.

Expect the Sharks to come out strong after losing back-to-back games against the Oilers and Flames. Tonight is the third of five meetings between the two clubs in the regular season. They will finish their regular-season series with games on March 3rd in Vancouver and March 7th in the shark tank.

Puck drop is set for 7pm.

 

Canucks host the Jets

jetsTonight marks the first of three meetings between the Vancouver Canucks (27-18-3) and the Winnipeg Jets (26-18-8). The two clubs are side by side in the standings holding onto the two wild card spots in the Western Conference. The Canucks are 1-3 in their last four games and their power play has gone on a downward spiral going two for its past 23 in the last six games. Keep in mind that both of those goals were tallied against Buffalo’s 29th ranked penalty kill.

On Superbowl Sunday the Canucks’ late game heroics weren’t enough as they fell short against the Minnesota Wild 4-2. Although it was the Canucks best third period this season, a 20 minute effort is not enough to come away with a win in this league.

Zack Kassian’s name has been in the middle of trade speculations for weeks and he expressed his feelings earlier this week.

“Am I frustrated? You guys have no idea how effing frustrated I am. But that’s the way it is. I’m not going to sit here and sulk. I just have to find a way.”

Kassian has been a healthy scratch numerous times this season and the 24 year old winger will sit out tonight against the Jets.  According to Kassian, his inconsistent play won’t go anywhere if he continues to be sidelined,

“It’s tough to score when you’re riding the bike.”

Some believe it’s only a matter of time when Kassian will have to return his Canucks jersey, be it before the NHL trade deadline or later in the off-season.

The Canucks will have to give Eddie Lack some scoring help tonight as they have only scored one goal in Lack’s last two starts. Frank Corrado is out with an undisclosed injury and in his place is Ryan Stanton. He’ll play alongside his former AHL Rockford defensive partner Adam Clendening.

Puck drop is set for 7pm.

 

Canucks host the Sabres

millerThe Vancouver Canucks are back in action tonight as they play host to the worst team in the Eastern Conference. Rogers Arena welcomes Ryan Miller’s former squad the Buffalo Sabres (14-32-3). Miller spent 11 seasons with the Sabres but those days are long gone and now the club is one of the few teams up for the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. The Sabres have lost 13 games in a row and are 1-16-1 in their last 18 games.

The Canucks were involved in a minor trade yesterday and picked up 22-year-old Adam Clendening, an offensive defenceman who was playing with the Rockford IceHogs in the AHL. He won’t be suiting up tonight but Latvian forward Ronalds Kenins who was recalled from Utica is expected to make his NHL debut alongside Bo Horvat and Zack Kassian. Brad Richardson is out with a foot injury and Derek Dorsett is sidelined with an upper body injury.

The Canucks (26-17-3) are sitting in the seventh slot in the Western Conference with 55 points. With the Kings at ninth with 54 points another loss could have the Canucks on the outside looking in fairly soon. Tonight the club will look to snap a two game losing streak and should come away with a victory against a struggling Sabres squad.

Puck drop is set for 7pm.

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