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Canucks Report: In the driver's seat

by Derek Jory / Vancouver Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks made it three wins in three games Tuesday night and they began preparing to battle for a fourth win during practice Wednesday.

Jannik Hansen, Alex Burrows and Zack Kassian were all absent from the team skate, while Brad Richardson joined the Canucks for the second straight day. Richardson also skated prior to practice alongside injured goalie Ryan Miller.

Coach Desjardins said Hansen and Burrows should be good to go Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche.

RICHARDSOON?

Brad Richardson said he’s making strides, but he tweaked something against the Philadelphia Flyers last week and rushing back into the line-up would be a mistake.

“I want to be in there right now, I want to be playing tomorrow,” said Richardson, post-practice. “It’s one of those things, I could try and play through it, but if I have another setback, it could be the rest of the year, so we’re trying to manage as best we can.

“It’ll just play two games a week, it’s nice, keeps the body fresh,” he added, jokingly.

The Canucks forward considers himself day-to-day for the rest of the season, but said he is getting close to where he wants to be.

Coach Desjardins seconded Richardson’s optimism.

“I don’t think he needs anymore rest, he just has to get in and play and we have to get games for him,” said coach. “He can only play when he’s ready and he’s close and hopefully we’ll see him again real soon.”

Here’s Desjardins’ full press conference:

GET TO THE POINT

A few weeks ago the magic number to clinch a playoff spot was thought to be 96 points, prognosticators have upped that to 97 points with 18 days remaining on the NHL schedule.

The Canucks remain second in the Pacific Division with 90 points through 73 games, but they haven’t secured a date for the dance yet.

Good news: they control their own destiny.

“It’s good to know we don’t have to scoreboard watch as much as long as we’re winning games and getting points,” said Kevin Bieksa.

“I’m not a mathematician, so to speak, but I know if we keep winning games, we’ll make it. We control our own destiny and we have nine games left, if we win seven of them it helps and we’re securely in the playoffs. You want to get into the playoffs and finish as high as you can, I think home ice advantage is pretty important if you can get it, it’s an added bonus.”

Bieksa said with how tight things are in the Western Conference, even a two-game losing streak could be costly.

“We’re 5-1-0 in our last six and we haven’t really pulled away from anyone, other teams are staying right with us. It’s tough to get that separation, you can’t take a couple games off.”

CLENDENING DOWN

The Canucks reassigned Adam Clendening to the Utica Comets Tuesday afternoon.

Clendening, 22, has appeared in 17 games with the Canucks this season registering two assists (0-2-2) and eight penalty minutes. He has also split time this season with the Chicago Blackhawks and Rockford IceHogs. He collected two points (1-1-2) in four games with Chicago and 13 points (1-12-13) in 38 games with Rockford.

”He needs to play,” said Desjardins. “Even if there was an injury here, he wouldn’t be next up to play, so he’ll get some games in down there.”

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