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Posted On Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 5:03 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks coach Willie Desjardins hopes his players learned a tough lesson against the Colorado Avalanche.

The Avalanche came into Vancouver Thursday after a loss the night before against the Edmonton Oilers that damaged their Stanley Cup Playoff hopes and dominated the Canucks for the first two periods of a 4-1 victory.

The Dallas Stars arrived overnight after a 4-0 loss in Edmonton on Friday night that left them eight points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference. Dallas and Winnipeg each have seven games remaining.

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Posted On Thursday, 03.26.2015 / 4:36 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Avalanche at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Vancouver Millionaires winning the 1915 Stanley Cup by wearing vintage jerseys and maroon-and-tan equipment against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; ALT, SNP).

The Canucks' focus, however, is their current Stanley Cup Playoff push, and they are happy forward Radim Vrbata is a part of it.

Vancouver first targeted Jarome Iginla as a free agent last summer, but after he signed a three-year, $16-million contract with Colorado, the Canucks signed Vrbata for two years and $10 million instead.

It's worked out well for each team.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.24.2015 / 4:02 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Winnipeg Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec is one of the hottest goaltenders in the NHL, but he won't play in a key game against the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday.

Pavelec extended his win streak to five games with 33 saves in a 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, but will watch Michael Hutchinson try to backstop the Jets to a franchise record-tying sixth straight win in Vancouver.

"We will run a hot goalie for sure," coach Paul Maurice said. "We're just not going to run him into the ground to do it."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.19.2015 / 8:44 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Ryan Murray won't play against the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday because of a lower-body injury he sustained on a hit against the Edmonton Oilers on Wednesday.

"He got a little banged up last night, so we're keeping him out, just more of a precaution than anything else," Columbus coach Todd Richards said. "We'll see how it goes tomorrow, and then possibly back in the lineup on Saturday."

Murray has two assists in 10 games after missing most of the season because of injuries. A knee injury cost him seven games to start the season, another in early November kept him out 36 games, and an ankle sprain kept him out 16 games early February through March 12.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.17.2015 / 4:05 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flyers at Canucks

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks are finally healthy again, which means coach Willie Desjardins has some tough roster decisions against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Desjardins was spared from a tough call by giving forward Alexandre Burrows, who has been nursing a suspected groin injury, an extra day off against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. With Burrows now ready to return, someone has to come out of the lineup.

“It makes it difficult but it’s all good,” Desjardins said.

The coach hinted he might use the newfound depth to rest veterans down the stretch, even with the Canucks just two points ahead of the Winnipeg Jets, who are currently out of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“It's not like we’re ever totally healthy at this time of year,” Desjardins said. “Nobody is. We have a couple things still.”

"If everyone can play, it won’t be easy choosing who comes out."

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Posted On Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 10:36 AM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Canucks

VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Canucks will get several key players back from injury against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, but more important will be making sure everyone else is focused.

That wasn't the case against a couple of the NHL's other struggling teams recently and it cost the Canucks valuable points in their race to get back into the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vancouver lost 6-3 to the last-place the Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 26 and needed a late rally to earn a point before losing 3-2 in a shootout to the Arizona Coyotes, who are 14th in the Western Conference, on March 5.

Toronto comes to Vancouver in 13th place in the Eastern Conference after a 6-3 loss Friday to the Calgary Flames, has five wins in its last 31 games and has only won one road game in 2015. Of course, the Coyotes had lost 10 straight before beating Vancouver.

"I can stand here and say a lot of different things but it's about us being ready," Canucks captain Henrik Sedin said. "The first five minutes we have to come out and show that we're not going to let this one slip away and not give Toronto any life."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 5:44 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- The Los Angeles Kings appear comfortable with playoff-style hockey before the Stanley Cup Playoffs start.

The Vancouver Canucks are learning as they go, knowing how they fare in three remaining games against the defending Stanley Cup-champion Kings could play a big role in them making the playoffs at all this season. The first of those three games is Monday at Rogers Arena.

"It's not the same game. There is a switch that flips," Vancouver center Shawn Matthias said. "It's tough hockey; it's different. You see a team fighting for a playoff spot. It's going to be like a playoff game out there. You learn a lot about how hard you have to battle."

That type of hockey is old hat for a lot of the Kings.

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Posted On Monday, 03.09.2015 / 4:46 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Ducks at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Defenseman James Wisniewski is ready to return from a foot injury and play his first game with the Anaheim Ducks on Monday against the Vancouver Canucks.

There's one problem: He still doesn't have his equipment.

Wisniewski said after the morning skate Monday he is ready to play after he sustained a bone bruise in his final game with the Columbus Blue Jackets on March 1. He was traded to Anaheim the next day, but his equipment got stuck in Memphis because of weather issues so he remains without his own skates, and perhaps most importantly, a custom-fit brace for his right knee.

Wisniewski said the equipment arrived in Anaheim late Sunday and Ducks general manager Bob Murray was bringing it to Vancouver on Monday afternoon, so he's hoping to play.

"I'm told there’s a 95-percent chance it will be here for tonight's game," Wisniewski said after wearing borrowed skates and a knee brace for the morning skate. "I guess there was storms of something in Memphis and it just got stuck and I don't know if they didn't think I was going to play this quickly or what."

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.03.2015 / 4:24 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom's first NHL game of the season is an important one against the San Jose Sharks, with plenty of Stanley Cup Playoff implications for each team on Tuesday.

The 25-year-old Swede wouldn't have it any other way.

"I try to prepare myself the same way, but obviously it's great to get the confidence from the coaches and the players to put me in there in a big spot," Markstrom said. "I can't wait to get out there."

The Canucks are second in the Pacific Division, five points ahead of the Calgary Flames, Los Angeles Kings and Sharks, who all have 70 points. San Jose is currently 10th in the Western Conference standings because the Sharks have played more games, but they can move up Tuesday.

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Posted On Sunday, 03.01.2015 / 2:24 PM

By Kevin Woodley -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blues at Canucks

VANCOUVER -- The Vancouver Canucks return home from a tough five-game Eastern Conference road trip, but still have to wait for reinforcements to an injury-ravaged lineup.

Top-pair defensemen Christopher Tanev and Alexander Edler skated together on Sunday morning for the first time after each missed six games with injuries. Fellow top-four defenseman Kevin Bieksa, who has been out since breaking his hand blocking a shot on Jan. 20, also skated before the rest of the team, but none of the seven injured Canucks will play against the St. Louis Blues on Sunday night.

That list also includes top-line right wing Alexandre Burrows and No. 1 goalie Ryan Miller, who is out four to six weeks with a knee sprain.

Despite the absences, Vancouver is 4-2-0 in its past six even after a disappointing loss to the last-place Buffalo Sabres on Thursday. The Canucks have held onto second place in the Pacific Division through the injuries, but only have a three-point lead over the Calgary Flames in the Western Conference Stanley Cup Playoff race.

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Quote of the Day

The last time I did it was 1994 and surprise, 20 years later it’s still working. I don’t do it very much, though. I don’t think I had it. I’m kind of surprised. It was probably because I went to church before the game.

Panthers veteran forward Jaromir Jagr on the move that produced his second goal in a 4-2 victory against the Senators on Sunday
AMP No Bull Moment of the Week