The Canucks (51-17-9), look to clinch the franchise’s first Presidents trophy tonight when the host the Los Angeles Kings (44-26-4) at Rogers Arena. A Canucks win, coupled with a Flyers loss or tie will give the trophy to Vancouver.
“Obviously it (the Presidents trophy) would be nice, we set our goals to get to the playoffs and get home ice advantage, and now they we’re here we’d better get it done and start the playoffs on the right foot,” Alexandre Burrows said.
Head Coach Alain Vigneault will juggle his lines for tonight’s matchup.
The Jannik Hansen at centre experiment appears to be on hold as Mason Raymond will slide down from his usual spot on the 2nd line wing to centre the 3rd line for the second time this season. He will be flanked by wingers Raffi Torres and Jannik Hansesn.
“I’d like to see what Mason Raymond can do with Jannik Hansen and Raffi Torres,” said Coach Vigneault. “We’ve tried Mason a couple times in the middle in the past when we’ve needed help there and he’s played we’ll. I’ve been thinking about this for a while now.”
Regular 4th liner Jeff Tambellini will get a chance to show off his skills tonight, starting on the 2nd line, for the first time in a couple months, to skate with Ryan Kesler and Chris Higgins.
On defense, Dan Hamhuis continues to sit out, following NHL concussion protocol, so Chris Tanev will start his 29th game of the season.
The LA Kings will be without their top two scorers in their final push for the playoffs, as both Justin Williams and Anze Kopitar are out until the first round.
“They’re a talented team, missing a couple of their big guys,” Chris Higgins said. “But they’ve still got a lot of depth on that team and they’ll be sharp tonight.”
“They have nothing secured by any means, and they’re going to be desperate to get points and we have to be willing to play a tight defensive game tonight,” Roberto Luongo said.
Luongo will get the start in net. He’s first in the NHL in wins (36) and 2nd in both Goals Against Average (2.16) and Save Percentage (.927). Luongo hasn’t given up more than three goals in a game in his last 23 contests.
Continuing the Canucks 40th anniversary celebrations, the team will honour Curt Fraser and the 1982 Canucks tonight at Rogers Arena. The team made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before finally losing to the New York Islanders.
A win tonight sets a new Canucks franchise record for wins in a month with 13.
EDLER AND ALBERTS GETTING CLOSE
Injured defensemen Alex Edler and Andrew Alberts are expected to skate with the team tomorrow for the first time since each of their respective injures.
“I think both those guys, in talking with Bernie (trainer Mike Burnstein) this morning, will be able to join the team tomorrow for practice, and we’ll take it a step at a time and see how they’re doing,” Coach Vigneault said.
GLASS AND SAMUELSSON UPDATE
Tanner Glass and Mikael Samuelsson skated with the team this morning, but neither will play tonight versus the Kings.
“Both those guys are real close,” Coach Vigneault said. “If it was playoff time they’d both be playing, but we’ve got the luxury here of making sure they can get to 100 percent and hopefully it won’t be much longer.”
“It’s been tough,” said Glass. “We first thought the injury was maybe going to be a couple days, or a week, but every time I was trying to get back in there it was making it worse, so I just had to take some time off and let it settle.”