BLESSING IN DISGUISE
The current Canucks line up, stitched together to fill the holes left by an injured netminder, five injured forwards, and a flu stricken winger, is stepping it up, chipping in, and grinding out two points night after night.
The Canucks have won their last three games improving their record to 10-7-0. Ranked 7th in the NHL the club has found a way to make their injury riddled squad work by tightening up defensively, solid goaltending, and fourth liners chipping in offensively.
"These injuries almost were a blessing in disguise," said Ryan Kesler.
"They really got us back to playing the way we need to play to win games. It kind of gave us a wakeup call. You've got guys every day chipping in. Tonight, Hordichuk scores a goal and Petty [Matt Pettinger] scores a goal. Everyone in here is trying to do a little more."
"You're not going to win with one line and you're not going to win with two lines," said Mikael Samuelsson. "You're going to win with your whole team and that's what we did [in Minnesota]. It's huge."
"Look at last year when things went downhill and we lost seven or eight in a row; coaches and management, nobody panicked,” said Darcy Hordichuk, who scored his first goal of the season last night.
“We were starting to panic in here a little bit with all the injuries ... but it's the guys sticking together and believing in the system. We can't afford to make mistakes."
"Early in the year, we'd gotten away from our identity and were trying to find ourselves as a team," said Ryan Johnson, who made his return in Minnesota after missing four games with a concussion.
"Then you have all these injuries, and the immediate reaction is to simplify and get back to basic things. And you see the team is playing a lot better because of it. It's a good lesson to carry on the rest of the year regardless of what the lineup is."
While the Canucks have the best home record in the league going 7-2-0, away from home the clubs struggled as their ranked 20th posting a 3-5-0 road record.
But, with already one road win in the bag, the Canucks look to carry that momentum forward as they face off against the Dallas Stars tonight, their second game on their five game road trip.
Cory Schneider is expected to get the start, while Mathieu Schneider is expected to be a healthy scratch.
The Dallas Stars are coming off a 3-2 OT loss Wednesday night against the Calgary Flames are hungry to break out of their slump and get a win.
Last season the Canucks edged out the Stars posting a 2-1-1 record, and in their first match up this season the Canucks also took the win defeating the Stars 4-3 in the shootout on October 11th.Expected line up:
VIGNEAULT SURPASSES NEALE
With the win Thursday night in Minnesota, Head coach Alain Vigneault surpassed Harry Neale sliding into second place on the Canucks all time Coaching Wins list behind Marc Crawford.
Vigneault, with 143 wins in three seasons, is the clubs 16th head coach in franchise history.
Last season Vigneault posted as 45-27-10 record collecting 100 points finishing first in the Northwest Division.