GAME DAY NOTES
The Canucks play their last home game against the St. Louis Blues tonight before departing on their highly anticipated 18 day road trip. This will be the fourth and last meeting between the two teams.
Even though the Blues (23-21-8) sit in thirteenth in the Western Conference with 54 points, the Canucks have struggled against them in their past three meetings this season, winning just one out of the three.
On November 10, the Blues came out on top winning 6-1 against Vancouver, followed by another Blues win on December 20 ending in 3-1. The Canucks made an impressive comeback after being down 3 goals in the teams last meeting on New Year’s Eve, where Christian Ehrhoff scored to help the Canucks win that game 4-3.
“I’ve always felt that they’re a real good structured team,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “I look at that team on paper and I really like their team I think they have some great offensive players, they have some guys that can defend well. I’m a little baffled about where they are in the standings right now. Last year they gave us everything that we could handle. Yes we beat them in four straight but it wasn’t a four straight series, all the games were real tight and hard fought.”
In the 2008-2009 playoffs, the Canucks edged out the Blues in the first round, but they won’t underestimate them.
“We have to realize that these guys are a good team and they play us hard every time,” said Roberto Luongo. “We need a good start and that’s what we’ve been missing against them in every game we’ve played against them so far. They’ve jumped out to early leads and fortunately we were able to come back in the last game.”
After winning their last five games, the Canucks are confident that they can pull out another one tonight. Having home ice is certainly favourable for the Canucks, who hold the NHL-high of 22 home game wins.
“It’s a funny thing, winning is contagious,” said Ryan Kesler. “Right now we feel comfortable at home. These guys beat us at home last time so we have to ready for this challenge.”
Winning against the Blues tonight would be the sixth straight before heading out to Toronto for the start of their 18 day journey and a season-high streak, if Canucks can finish with two points tonight.
“I think it’s just getting the pucks deep, working the fore check, and focusing on what we do well as a line when we’re working in the corners to the net,” said Alex Burrows. “That’s when Danny and Hank work their magic and that’s how we’re successful.”
Darcy Hordichuk is back in the lineup and will skate on Ryan Johnson’s line with Rick Rypien, which leaves Tanner Glass out for tonight’s game.
Defencemen Sami Salo and Willie Mitchell remain out of the line-up tonight. Salo will travel with the team on their road trip but Mitchell will not as he continues to show symptoms of his concussion and is day-to-day.
BURROWS KEEPS ON GOING
With an assist last game against the Buffalo Sabres, Alex Burrows (23-22-45) has reached a 12 game point streak with 19 points during that time.
Within the last 12 games, Burrows has done everything. He recorded back-to-back hat tricks against the Phoenix Coyotes and the Columbus Blue Jackets, scored three shorthanded goals, two powerplay goals, and was seen not just the penalty kill, but also the powerplay.
Burrows also tied a club record for most goals in the month of January with 13. This record was set by Pavel Bure in 1994, and Tony Tanti in 1988. With just three games left in January, Burrows could join Wayne Gretsky (1984) and Pat Lafontaine (1992) who hold the NHL record for the most goals within January, both with 19.
Burrows is also second in the league for plus-minus at plus-27, behind Washington Capital’s Alex Ovechkin at plus-30.