GAME DAY NOTES
Tonight the Canucks face the Columbus Blue Jackets for the second time this season on home ice where the Canucks look to better their 5-3 loss in the teams previous meeting.
The Canucks’ recent return home after a four game road trip earning seven of eight points. The team hopes to continue their winning ways and translate their road success home.
Columbus let the Avalanche take over towards the end of their game on Saturday and falling 3-2 to the Avs. The team has only won 3 games out of their last 23 games and currently has 39 points and sit in 14th in the Western Conference.
“There are no bad teams in our conference and in the league,” said coach Alain Vigneault. “You look throughout the league on any given night and any team can beat any other team. If any part of your game for whatever reason is off a little bit you’re probably not going to win that game. That’s how competitive the NHL is.”
The team will continue to look toward Roberto Luongo to have another stellar performance in net. Luongo has a .921 save percentage and a 2.25 GAA in his 35 games this year and is 7-2-1 in his last 10 starts.
“He’s been a big reason for our success” said Kesler post practice. “When we do have breakdowns he’s right there to kick it out for us.”
More often than not, when the Sedin twins are on their game, the Canucks see success and the same is expected tonight.
“Since my time here, they’ve gone from the second line to the first line to the go-to guys offensively” stated coach Vigneault after morning practice. “They are not improving just by chance but because they work hard and are committed to getting better every year.”
With 51 points in the season so far, the Canucks hope to sit on the bubble of a playoff position, hovering in eighth hope ti win tonight and continue their rise in the standings of the Western Conference.
ALL THE WORLD’S A STAGE
Hockey fans around the world look forward to the IIHF World Junior Championship that begins every boxing day and in the blink of an eye, the conclusion arrives today when Sweden faces Switzerland in the bronze medal game and Canada battles the United States in tonight’s gold medal game.
All eyes anticipated seeing Canucks Prospect Cody Hodgson lead the way for Team Canada in the hopes of their sixth consecutive World Junior title but injuries sidelined him from playing. But look on the other side, where Jordan Schroeder will headline a young USA Team.
Schroeder, who is currently with the University of Minnesota, had three assists and topped Jeremy Roenick’s number of all-time career points for the United States team in the WJC. Roenick’s numbers were 13-12-25, while Schroeder now has 26 points with 6 goals and 20 assists with one game to go in the tournament.
The Canucks are keeping a close eye on the matinee game, where 2009 draft picks, Anton Rodin and Peter Andersson will help Sweden vie for a bronze medal after a disappointing loss to the United States.
Rodin has eight points (3-5-8) and is a plus-2, and Andersson has two assists and is a plus-3 leading up to today’s game.