CALGARY, AB – The Vancouver Canucks are looking to end a disappointing season on a positive note.
The NHL regular season concludes Sunday evening and the Canucks are one of the teams that expected to play well into April. Vancouver, however, was mathematically eliminated from the playoff contention earlier this week, ending their season without postseason hockey for the first time in five seasons. The last time the Canucks missed the playoffs was during the 2007-08 season.
This season has been a tumultuous one for the once Northwest Division powerhouse. Vancouver had lost both Henrik and Daniel Sedin for substantial time during the season, they then saw their long time goaltender Roberto Luongo dealt back to the Florida Panthers at the trade deadline in early March, and earlier this week, the team saw general manager Mike Gillis, the mastermind behind their 2011 Stanley Cup Finals appearance, relieved of his duties.
This Season: 35-35-11, 81 points (12th in West) Last Season: 26-15-7, 59 points (3rd in East) Notable Injuries: Forward Mike Santorelli (shoulder) and defencemen Chris Tanev (broken fingers) and Andrew Alberts (concussion) are out for the Canucks.
Flames Season Series Record: 0-2-2
The 23-year-old from Windsor, Ont has enjoyed a career year in his third season with Vancouver. Kassian has set career highs in goals (14), assists (15), points (29) and game winning goals (2). In the past four games, he has been Vancouver’s most productive player earning a goal and two assists.
The left winger has had a tough final stretch of the season, in the past 18 games, he has earned one goal and four assists for five points. During that span he has been a minus-9 for the Canucks.
THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH
The Canucks first round selection in 2011 is expected to play in his 19th career NHL game on Sunday.on Vancouver’s top line with Daniel and Henrik Sedin. The 21-year-old has suited up for 16 of those games this year, recording three goals and six points.
Hamhuis was named to Canada’s Olympic roster this past February and rightfully so; he’s scored five goals and added 22 assists this season for the Canucks and has been a plus-13 during that time. He leads all Canucks in time on ice per game, averaging 23:57 this season.
The 29-year-old American Olympian will be wrapping up one of his least productive seasons in his professional career. His 42 points is his lowest mark since the 2007-08 season while his minus-17 is a career low. Prior to the trade deadline, it was reported Kesler would welcome a trade out of Vancouver.