SPECIAL TEAM FOCUS
The Canucks (34-23-8) are in Anaheim to take on the Ducks (31-30-6) tonight. Looking to bounce back from a disappointing 3-2 loss to the L.A. Kings, the Canucks took to the ice Tuesday afternoon in California to hone their game.
The Vancouver squads' special teams, an area that hurt them in Monday's loss, were a main focus at practice. The Canucks, 12-3-0 in their last 15 games, are 17th in the NHL on the power play with 18.7 per cent and 25th with 78.8 percent on the penalty kill.
"Obviously our penalty killing needs to be better, the power play needs to be better," said head coach Alain Vigneault. "We know that.
"We're spending a lot of time on the ice and on video working on it. Hopefully we can get on a roll in both those areas."
Captain Roberto Luongo
hit the ice 20 minutes before the rest of the team, determined to eliminate soft goals, like the first shot from the Kings that beat him to open scoring on Monday. He was on the ice again this morning, taking shots from Rob Davison and Ossi Vaananen in preparation for tonight's game.
"Obviously we didn't expect to win every game the rest of the way, but sometimes [a loss] is a way to get us back to realizing we've got to work, that it's not just going to happen," Luongo said. "There's not anything secured, by any means, for us. There's no reason for us to feel comfortable or not have that desperation level.
"It's a matter of how we respond [tonight]."
The Ducks and Canucks have met twice already this year, the Canucks battling to a 2-0-0 record, including a 7-6 shootout win back on Halloween night at the Honda Center.
Forwards Jannik Hansen
and Rick Rypien remain on IR. Defencemen Davison and Vaananen are expected to be healthy scratches tonight.
Well aware of how tight the Western Conference standings are heading down the stretch to playoff, the Canucks on concentrating on the task at hand, to gain a stronger position in the West.
"I'd be lying if I said we weren't looking a little bit [at the standings]," said Vigneault. "But when we get up in the morning we focus on our next game. I'd say since mid-January, our focus has really shifted to a narrow approach, a next-game mentality. We've had some pretty good success doing that."
The Canucks are likely to see a familiar face tonight, as winger Mike Brown wearing #13, has dressed for the last 13 games for the Ducks. Brown was traded to Anaheim for defenceman Nathan McIver.
Tonight’s game faces off at 7:00pm PST and can be seen on Canucks TV Pay-Per-View. A TRIBUTE
The Vancouver Canucks announced today that the memory of Bob Ackles, former President and CEO of the BC Lions, will be honored in a pre-game ceremony on March 13, 2009 when the Canucks take on the Los Angeles Kings.
“Bob played a pivotal role in shaping sport in BC. His contributions to football and the community were far-reaching and deeply impacted countless families across this province,” said Chris Zimmerman, President and CEO, Canucks Sports & Entertainment.
“After an emotional season for the BC Lions, we are very pleased that Kay, Javier [Glatt] and Brent [Johnson] are able to join us to celebrate the life of Bob Ackles. The Canucks family was fortunate to be within Bob’s circle of influence and feel it a privilege to honour his legacy at this time.”
Bob served as President and CEO of the BC Lions from 2002 until his passing in July, 2008. Prior to taking on the role of President and CEO, he held a number of positions within the organization. In addition to his work with the Lions, Bob also served in various capacities in the NFL and the XFL. He is the only individual to have held executive positions in the NFL, CFL and XFL. Bob was a CFL and BC Hall of Famer, and a three-time Grey Cup champion.
The Canucks are asking fans to join the team prior to the 7:00 pm puck drop for a 90 second pre-game ceremony that will include Bob’s wife, Kay, and BC Lions players Javier Glatt and Brent Johnson.
In honour of Bob Ackles, proceeds from the game’s 50/50 Draw will be donated to Canuck Place in his name.FANTASY HOCKEY:
Check out Canucks Fantasy Hockey
, a free online game that allows you to play against other Vancouver Canucks fans as you attempt to earn the most points during each of the Vancouver Canucks' regular season hockey games.