By Derek Jory
Henrik Sedin has gone eight games without a point, Mason Raymond is pointless in six contests and Daniel Sedin has been blanked in five straight.
And now they’re on a line together.
It’s so zany, it just might work.
Vancouver Canucks head coach Alain Vigneault confirmed Raymond will start Wednesday’s game versus the Phoenix Coyotes alongside the Sedins, moving Alex Burrows down to the third line alongside Jannik Hansen and Samuel Pahlsson.
The Canucks lead the Northwest Division by 14 points and are all but guaranteed at least the second seed in the Western Conference standings, but luxury isn’t the reason coach V is shaking things up.
As he’s said time and time again over the last week and a half, Vancouver’s best players need to be Vancouver’s best players.
“Right now our focus is on tonight’s game and trying to play up to our standards, which we haven’t done lately,” said Vigneault. “It’s got nothing to do with experimenting, it’s got everything to do with trying to get our top players up to their level and we’ve been trying different things and we’ll continue to try until we find something that works.”
The juggling may also see Dale Weise in the line-up Wednesday; Vigneault didn’t say whether or not the defensive pairs would be messed with.
Throughout February, the Coyotes were not to be messed with. Although Phoenix has come back down to earth a bit in March, the Canucks are preparing for a real battle, one that is a potentia first round playoff preview, Wednesday at Rogers Arena.
With the exception of Vancouver’s 5-0 win over Phoenix on November 25, the other two meetings between clubs finished 2-1 in a shootout.
“It’ll be tight defensively,” assessed Henrik Sedin. “They aren’t going to give up a whole lot of chances and you have to be patient, you can’t cheat to get chances or they’re going to hurt you, they’ve got enough talent up front to score goals. They’re a dangerous team.
“They play so tight defensively that a lot of their games are one-goal games, it goes down to the last minute to see who wins the game and I don’t expect anything different tonight.”
Puck drops at 7 p.m. and can be seen on Canucks.com, via the Canucks Live App and Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. For those away from a TV, follow @CanucksGame on Twitter for live in-game play-by-play.