GAME DAY NOTES
After back-to-back wins and a disappointing loss, the Canucks look to end their four-game road trip on a positive note tonight in Nashville.
The Predators, at 7th spot in the Western Conference and two points head of Vancouver, are coming off a 5-3 loss against Minnesota. While the Canucks, trying to wipe the slate clean after a 5-3 loss against the Hurricanes Saturday afternoon, look to improve their road record (6-9-0) before returning to Vancouver for an eight-game home stand.
This is the first of four meetings between these two teams. Roberto Luongo is expected to be back between the pipes. Puck drops at 5 PST.
STATS FALL FLAT
Simply by looking at the numbers, the Canucks should rank higher than where they sit. Tenth in the Western Conference with 32 points (16-13-0) the club sits outside of a playoff spot and yet statistically they rank within the top ten in the NHL in both defense (8th with 2.59 goals-against) and offensive (4th with 3.07 goals a game).
And while Vancouver is the six highest scoring team in the league, the stats don’t tell the entire story.
“When you’re up by 4-2 and you make it 5-2 and 6-2, those goals really don’t mean a lot,” explained head coach Alain Vigneault.
“It’s great when you can make a 5-2 game 6-2. It’s a lot easier behind the bench. But at the end of the day, most of the games are real tight and they’re hard fought. We need to get back on the track of getting into those games and winning those games.”
The Canucks have won ten games by a margin of three of more goals, while they break even in one goal games with four losses and four wins this season.
“If you look at our record in the past, they’ve all been one-goal games,” added Vigneault. “For whatever reason, right now, we’re just on the wrong side of that.”
The Canucks remain the only team in the league who have yet to see overtime action.
“The games we’ve been losing lately, these are the kind of games we need to push to overtime,” said forward Alex Burrows, who has five goals in his last six games.
“If we lose in a shootout or overtime, at least we get a point.”
NO GO FOR HODGSON
Vancouver prospect Cody Hodgson, who is still recovering from an off-season back injury, will not attend Canada’s World Junior Training Camp that begins on Saturday in Regina, Saskatchewan as reported by TSN.
After a disappointing pre-season stint with the Canucks, Hodgson, 19, rejoined his junior club, the Brampton Battalion, but has yet to suit up after seeking a second medical opinion for his ailing back.
Restricted to off-ice training by Dr. Tony Miniaci, Hodgson finally rejoined his teammates on the ice nearly two weeks ago and was hoping to be healthy enough to participate in the tournament. However, Monday Hodgson informed Hockey Canada that he will not be able to attend training camp.
Last year, Hodgson led the World Junior tournament in scoring with five goals and 11 assists (5-11-16) in 16 games en route to the Canada’s gold medal victory over Team Sweden.
At 6’0” and 185 lbs., the Toronto, Ontario native, drafted 10th overall by the Canucks in 2008, recorded 43 goals and 49 assists (43-49-92) in 53 games last season with the Brampton Battalion.