ALL THE KINGS MEN
After another lengthy break, the Canucks return to game action as they welcome the rising Los Angeles Kings to GM Place. Vancouver, one game above .500, are coming off a 1-0 loss against the Chicago Blackhawks Sunday night. Meanwhile, the Kings, who sit six points ahead of Vancouver, are fresh off 3-1 win over Edmonton Wednesday night.
And while the Kings play tonight without forward veteran Ryan Smyth, who is sidelined by an upper body injury, they Canucks still need a solid 60 minute effort in order to get the win.
"The Kings are one of the best up-and-coming teams in the NHL," said Alain Vigneault. "Anybody who watches the Kings on a regular basis knows they play a smart, high-percentage, hard-working game.”
“I enjoy playing against [Smyth],” said Roberto Luongo.
“We have a friendly rivalry going. We’ve played together a bunch of times with Team Canada. Whether he’s in or out it doesn’t matter. My job is the same and I’m sure there’s still going to be traffic around the net. We’ve got to do a good job as a team. If there is any traffic, I got to fight through those screens and my boys in front of me got to take care of those rebounds.”
Last time these two teams met Vancouver picked up two points defeating LA 2-1 in the shootout. Puck drops at 7 PST.
GET IT ROLLING
Hard work doesn’t always pay off, but eventually ones luck should turn. The Canucks have played well in their last few outings and yet they haven’t been able to come away with a win.
“Even thought we haven’t gotten the results, we’ve played well the last four games,” said Roberto Luongo.
“We’ve been playing a consistently better game,” said Ryan Johnson. “So it’s a good time to get a lot of games, get on a roll and start feeling good about ourselves. We know we’ll get our opportunities if we stay patient and play from our net out.”
After scoring in bunches last week against Colorado, the team was kept off the score sheet Sunday against Chicago. However, curbing the team’s offensive inconsistency comes second to playing responsibly in their own end.
“As long as well play well defensively the offence will come,” said Alex Burrows who has four goals and nine assists in 23 games this season. “As long as we form good habits of getting pucks through, getting lots of shots, getting traffic, and getting those rebounds, that’s how we’re going to create some scoring chances.”
“The most important thing is we need to start climbing the standings and getting two points night in and night out.”
The Canucks, who currently rank 11th in the Western Conference, now have plenty of time to make up lost ground as they suit up nearly every second night until the end of the year playing 18 games in 36 nights.
“We need to play well in those games because we could be in big trouble later on,'' explained Steve Bernier.
“We all know we have a tough schedule around the Olympics and we've got to realize it's going to get a lot tougher,'' said Daniel Sedin.
“When you're playing more consistently, you're going to get better efforts. If you play once a week it's going to be tougher for sure. It shouldn't be different when you've had a three or four-day break, but it always seems like it's tough to get going.''
The Canucks round out their five-game home stand Sunday against San Jose before embarking on an eastern road trip.