VANCOUVER, BC -- Like the majority of the Pacific Division, the Vancouver Canucks are in a tight race for a spot in the 2016 NHL Playoffs.
The Canucks, who are 4-3-3 in their last 10, currently sit fifth in the division with a 20-19-12 record and 52 points. They are just three points shy of third-place Anaheim and trail second-place San Jose by six points.
They have lost a few tight games recently, including a 2-1 shootout setback to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, and are eager to string wins together to close the gap in the divisional race.
"It's three games in a row where we felt we could get two points in every single one and instead we're sitting with one point," Jannik Hansen told VancouverCanucks.com after Thursday's loss. "It's another wasted opportunity to either gain some ground or keep up in the [playoff] race."
The Canucks will get a boost on the blueline on Saturday with Dan Hamhuis returning to the lineup after missing several weeks with facial fractures. In his first 27 games this year, the veteran collected four assists.
"It's been a long time that I've been out and I've been working hard over the last month to get my fitness back, get my game shape back - a lot of practicing," he told VancouverCanucks.com. "I'm really looking forward to getting back in the lineup with the guys.
"It's a fun time of year to be coming back to play hockey, especially with the way the point race is. We're playing a lot of divisional games, including [Saturday], so it should be a great game."
The Flames and Canucks have squared off twice this year, in a back-to-back set of home openers in October. The Canucks took the first game by a score of 5-1 while the Flames spoiled Vancouver's first 2015-16 game at Rogers Arena with a 3-2 overtime victory.
BREAKING DOWN THE CANUCKS
Power Play: 17.1 percent overall (27 goals scored in 158 chances with the man advantage), 20 percent at home (16 goals scored in 80 chances with the man advantage)
Penalty Kill: 80.2 percent overall (32 goals allowed in 162 times being short-handed), 84.6 percent at home (10 goals allowed in 65 times being short-handed)
2015-16 Record vs. the Flames: 1-0-1
2014-15 Record vs. the Flames: 2-2-0
Notable Injuries: N/A
Who's HOT: Bo Horvat
The 20-year-old pivot has one goal and four points in last five games, being held pointless in just one game during that stretch. On Thursday, he set up Linden Vey's power play goal against the Columbus Blue Jackets, had two shots on net, and won 81 percent of his 16 face-offs.
Horvat, selected ninth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, has nine goal and 23 points in 51 skates this year.
Honourable Mention: Sven Baertschi
The former Flame has notched two goals and three points in his last five appearances, including an assist in Vancouver's 2-1 shootout setback to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. The 23-year-old is seventh in team scoring with nine goals and 18 points through 43 games this year.
Who's NOT: Jared McCann
McCann has just one assist to his name since Dec. 22 and has just 21 shots in that lengthy stretch. The 19-year-old, who was selected 24th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, has seven goals and 12 points in 45 games this year.