After a big 3-2 win over one of the league’s hottest teams, the Washington Capitals, the Canucks fall back into familiar territory and let one slip by as the St. Louis Blues defeated the home team 3-1 Sunday night at GM Place.
“We look at the standings everyday and we’re getting closer and closer,” said defencemen Shane O’Brien. “Everytime we get an opportunity to get in the top eight, we seem to come out with maybe our ‘B’ game. In this league, no matter who you’re playing, you better have your ‘A’ game every night if you want a chance to win.”
Statistically the club has been doing well as they sit within the top ten for goals for (5th) and goals against (10th). Their power play ranks 5th in the league with an efficiency rating of 22.4 per cent and they sport the third best home record in the league (14-6-0). Yet, consistency has been a nagging problem as the team still sits outside of a playoff position in 10th spot, one point back of the eight place Dallas Stars.
“We’re in a tough conference,” explained head coach Alain Vigneault. “Sometimes you go out there and you bust a gut and you don’t play as well as you can but it’s not from lack of trying. They’re some good teams in our conference and people should be giving them a little more credit than their doing right now.”
“It’s a fine line between a win and a loss; our guys here are busting guts trying. We’re having quite a few of our players having career years and oddly enough we find ourselves out of the playoffs. It’s a tough league.”
“We’re not going to hang our head and feel sorry for ourselves,” said O’Brien. “We’re going to come in everyday and work hard. That’s the type of group we have in here.”
A CELEBRATION WITH STYLE AND FLARE
After sitting out as a healthy scratch earlier this season, defencemen Shane O’Brien re-entered the line up motivated and determined to do well and as a result, according to AV, O’Brien’s been playing some of his best offensive and defensive hockey to date.
O’Brien also saw his regular season goalless drought snapped Sunday night as he netted his first goal in 165 regular season games.
“I think I was probably a little overexcited but after you wait 160-some games I was planning my celebration,” explained O’Brien. “[The puck] didn’t even hit the back of the net but it crossed the line. The boys were making a little fun at me. It just barely got over but I’ll take it. It felt good; unfortunately it would have felt better with a win.”
When pressed by a reporter about the similarities between forward Darcy Hordichuk’s goal celebration and O’Brien’s, he jokingly defended his celebration.
“You can’t even compare my pump to Hordi’s pump,” said O’Brien with a smile. “Mines got style and flare and Hordi’s is from Kamsack, Saskatchewan style…it’s completely different.”
Defencemen Alex Edler, who missed the last six games with an upper body injury, joined his teammates again for practice today.
Listed as day-to-day, Edler stated he’s close but needs to focus on getting his strength back before sliding into the line up.
Defencemen Sami Salo and Mathieu Schneider, and forward Ryan Johnson did not attend practice.