It’s already been a successful five-game home stand for the Vancouver Canucks, who have won three of four games, but capturing eight of 10 points would help mightily in their playoff push.
40 IS THE NEW 40
In preparation for the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Canucks skated Thursday morning with Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson the only players missing, although Kassian skated with skills coach Glenn Carnegie prior to practice.
Coach Willie Desjardins said he’s not sure where Richardson is at, he’s a game-time decision and it’s unsure if he’ll take the line-up. Linden Vey will likely take Richardson’s spot between Chris Higgins and Derek Dorsett if changes are needed.
With the Canucks still able to ice a healthy line-up, even without Richardson and potentially Kassian, Desjardins said this could be advantageous for the team in the long run.
“If use this right, it can really help us. Like Burrows, when we gave him that day, it really helped.”
Burrows responded to a game off with a two-goal outburst to help beat the Philadelphia Flyers 4-1 Tuesday night.
Desjardins also commented on the status of injured goalie Ryan Miller, saying “Ryan’s on track from everything I’ve heard, the good news is we’re happy with how Eddie is playing so we don’t have to rush anything.”
Desjardins' full press conference:CANUCKS VS. BLUE JACKETS
The Blue Jackets are in town for the second of two match-ups this season; Vancouver won the first 5-0 in Columbus in late November and the Canucks are 7-1-2 in their last 10 games against the Blue Jackets and 14-1-2 in their last 17.
Thursday night’s game is the last versus an Eastern Conference opponent for the Canucks this season, unfortunately. Vancouver is 21-9-1 against the East and 13-2-0 against Columbus’ Metropolitan Division.
“East, West, whatever, we just have to play our best,” said former Blue Jackets forward Derek Dorsett. “They’re a hard-working team, one hit hard with injuries at the start of the season and it’s continued the whole way through. That’s tough for them because they had a good season last year, but you still know what kind of effort you’re going to get from them, so we have to be ready.”
The Canucks have won six in a row against Columbus at Rogers Arena.
Eddie Lack said the Canucks are ready for the Blue Jackets, despite only seeing them twice a season.
And with points at a premium, Chris Tanev has a message for Anaheim Ducks forward Ryan Kesler: thank you!
With 13 games remaining on the schedule, the Canucks have already hit the 40-win plateau, achieved when they beat the Flyers Tuesday.
This is the 13th time in franchise history the team has hit 40 wins and first time since the 2011-12 season when the Canucks won 51 games.
Vancouver has only ever missed the playoffs once when reaching 40 wins and has made it past the first round in eight of those occasions.SAYING GOODBYE
The Canucks had a team day off Wednesday and most of the players spent their free time remembering a friend who recently passed away.
Mark Slavin, an equipment rep for Easton Hockey, was a close friend with many of the Canucks and he was laid to rest yesterday with upwards of 10 players in attendance, including Kevin Bieksa.
“It was emotional, but it was also a nice celebration of his life,” said Bieksa. “It really set in for me this morning that he’s gone; I’m glad I was able to be there yesterday.”
Slavin died last Thursday of a brain aneurysm. He was 58-years-old.
“It was nice to see the guys out to show support,” said Chris Tanev, who also attended.