The Canucks (45-16-9) open up a three game home stand when they host the Minnesota Wild (35-27-7) in their fifth meeting of the season tonight at Rogers Arena.
After a win one, lose one stretch that lasted over a month, the Canucks swept their recent West Coast road trip, with an impressive 5-0 record.
“We turned the corner a little bit in our last game at home against Nashville,” said Henrik Sedin. “We didn’t score any goals, but the feeling was different, we played a more solid game and we kept doing those things on the road, and we got a few goals here and there and the power play got hot again".
The Canucks reached the 99 point mark after Saturday’s win against the Calgary Flames. Should they gain at least a point tonight, it will mark the fastest the club has ever reached 100 points (70 games). The previous record was set in 2006-07 when the team reached 100 points in 77 games. The franchise record for points in a season is 105.
The season series between the Canucks and Wild is tied at two apiece, with each team holding lopsided victories over the other. The Canucks have outscored with Wild 9-2 in their two victories; the Wild have outscored the Canucks 10-2 in theirs. Good news for the Canucks though, as the home team has won seven of the past eight games between the two clubs.
A fast start will be important for both teams: The Canucks hold the league’s best record when scoring first at 32-2-6, with the Wild not far behind at 27-2-4. Conversely, the Canucks are 9-14-3 when allowing the first goal, and the Wild 8-25-3.
Sitting 1st and 3rd in NHL scoring, the Sedin twins have only been held off the score sheet together 10 different times this season, but its happened twice against the Minnesota Wild.
“Sometimes teams can shut down the Twins and that’s not an easy thing to do,” Coach Vigneault said. “Give Minnesota credit, they’ve played us smart in the games they’ve beaten us and we’re just going to have to be better tonight”.
Roberto Luongo gets the start in net for the Canucks. He’s 12-14-1 in his career against Minnesota, with 3.02 Goals Against Average and a .902 Save Percentage. With the Wild fighting for their playoff lives, sitting four points out of a playoff spot, Luongo expects a tenacious effort.
“Teams are desperate, doing whatever it takes to get a win and we just want to keep building off our road trip, finding ways to win on a nightly basis and making sure that we approach these last few games as though they are playoff games to get us ready to go,” Luongo said.
Kevin Bieksa continued skating on his own this morning. He’s been out since February 15th, and is getting close to rejoining the team, but there is still no set date for his return.
Tanner Glass is still day-to-day with an upper body injury.
DANIEL NAMED NHL’s 2nd STAR OF THE WEEK
Vancouver Canucks left winger Daniel Sedin has been named the National Hockey League’s second star of the week for the week ending March 13th. Sedin is joined by Braden Holtby of the Washington Capitals (first star) and Corey Perry of the Anaheim Ducks (third star) as the NHL 'Three Stars' of the week.
Daniel led the League in scoring with eight points (three goals, five assists) as Vancouver (45-16-9, 99 points) won all three games played, remaining first in the overall NHL standings. Daniel began the week by notching three assists in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Phoenix Coyotes. He recorded one goal and one assist in a 5-4 shootout victory over the San Jose Sharks Mar. 10 and followed up with a two-goal, one-assist effort in a 4-3 victory over the Calgary Flames Mar. 12. Sedin currently leads the NHL scoring race with 89 points (37-52--89) in 70 games, five points ahead of Steven Stamkos.
HAROLD SNEPSTS INDUCTED INTO RING OF HONOUR TONIGHT
Prior to tonight’s game the Vancouver Canucks will celebrate the career of defenseman Harold Snepsts by inducting him as the fourth member of the Ring of Honour. Snepsts was drafted by Vancouver, 59th overall in the 1974 NHL entry draft. He played 12 seasons with the Canucks, registering 35 goals and 195 points in 781 games.
Snepsts was a fan favorite during his time with the Canucks, with his name often heard bellowing down from the Pacific Coliseum faithful.
Check out Derek Jory’s article on Haaarold here.