ST. PATRICK’S DAY AT GM PLACE
Dressed in their best St. Patrick’s Day green, the Canucks (36-23-9) skated this morning in preparation for tonight’s match up against the visiting Dallas Stars (33-28-8).
“Two teams, good goaltending, good transitions, so it should be a lot of fun,” said head coach Alain Vigneault.
The Canucks, winners of nine straight on home ice, look for their first win against the Stars this season after dropping the first two match ups. Since bouncing back from a disappointing January the players are not taking their success for granted and are ready for an intense game tonight.
“I don’t think you can put [the turnaround] on one particular thing,” said Vigneault. “We kept working hard. We were working hard, but we weren’t getting rewards for our efforts and now we’re working hard and we are being rewarded. So, obviously we want to keep this going.”
After defeating the Canucks 2-1 on February 13th, the Stars lost nine of 15 games, but have won their last two games. The Dallas squad is eighth in the West and clinging to the final playoff spot, with the Oilers sitting only one point back.
The Canucks are gaining ground in the tight Western Conference playoff race, currently sitting in fifth, only two points back from Chicago and five behind Calgary.
“We’re just trying to climb the ladder,” said Shane O’Brien. “We’ve had some success lately, we’ve been playing really well at home. There’s lots of things you need to be a good club down the stretch and in the playoffs so that’s what we’re focusing on."
“Wouldn’t that be nice [scoring his first goal of the season on St. Patrick’s Day], in a perfect world. At least I'm getting some chances now. It’s been nice playing with Juice [Bieksa], he likes to move the puck a little bit. I'm getting out there with Hank and Danny and Mats line a little bit. I feel like I’m getting some chances, I’m getting closer. Nothing would make me happier than two points and maybe a goal for O’Brien tonight. It would be nice.”
There will not be any changes to the Canucks' winning lineup tonight. D-men Ossi Vaananen and Rob Davison will be healthy scratches. Jannik Hansen
practiced with the team again and feels good on the ice, although he does not know when he will play.
Forward Rick Rypien skated with assistant coach Darryl Williams this morning before the team practice. Rypien, sidelined with a sports hernia injury, has missed 60 games this season.
“He’s on a day-to-day basis right now, so depending on how he feels and how Roger thinks he’s doing, we’ll just take it a day at a time,” said Vigneault.
Tonight’s game faces off at 7:00pm PST and can be seen coast-to-coast on TSN.FANTASY HOCKEY:
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