Canucks Review and Preview: January 31 to February 6, 2011
[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@cayking).]
50 GP, 31-10-9, 71 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference)
Alex Burrows is beginning to show signs of life. After a slow start – understandable considering he missed the first 10 games with a shoulder injury – he has 2 goals, 2 assists and a plus-4 rating in his last 3 games. As much as people like to say the Sedins make him better, Burr adds a lot to the first line. He gets into the dirty areas, fights for the puck along the boards and takes a beating in the front of the net in order to free up space and time for Hank and Dank.
Raffi Torres has been quiet as of late, recording only 1 assist in his last 8 games and going minus-3 in that same stretch. Baby Beluga hasn’t scored since the Canucks’ December 31st game against the Dallas Stars – a 14-game goalless drought. Raffi recently spent some time on the fourth line; hopefully this kickstarts him and he finds his game soon.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011 vs. Dallas Stars (5:30 PM start, away)
On Tuesday, the Canucks visit Dallas, a team they met just over a week ago. The Stars are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games, but one of those losses was a 7-1 beating from the Canucks. The Canucks have won both meetings this season, outscoring the Stars 11-2.
Loui Eriksson, who is second on the Stars in team scoring and participated in this weekend’s All-Star Game festivities, has 21 points in his last 19 games and 17 goals and 49 points this season.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 vs. Phoenix Coyotes (6:30 PM start, away)
The Canucks roll into Glendale and take on the Phoenix Coyotes. If you don’t have tickets to the game yet, there’s plenty of goal-line seats left at $36 a pop. While at the game, get a beer, soda or hot dog for a $1.
The Coyotes are 6-4-0 in their last 10 games and are right in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race. They have an 8-2-1 record against the Northwest Division teams this season, including a 3-2 win over the Canucks in their only meeting to date. Former Canuck Taylor Pyatt’s 2 goals paced the Coyotes in that win.
The Coyotes are led by one of the best offensive defensemen in the league, Keith Yandle. Yandle tallied 17 points in the month of January; he leads the team with 44 points (8-36) and is a plus-4 for the season.
Friday, February 4, 2011 vs Chicago Blackhawks (7:00 PM start, home)
The Canucks have a Friday night date with their playoff rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, this week. Despite an average season, they are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and still hold 7th place in the Western Conference.
Chicago has won 2 of 3 meetings against the Canucks this season, though the Canucks shut out the Hawks 3-0 in their most recent matchup in early December. In that game, Tanner Glass scored the game-winner midway through the second period.
The All-Star trio of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane lead the Hawks in scoring with 46 points, 40 points and 37 points, respectively; however they are a combined minus 11.
Most Deserving of a Shoutout: Lee Sweatt
When Lee Sweatt led the team out onto the ice, against Nashville, many were wondering whether it was a Canucks player or the young child that gets to skate out with the team. Then in one of the feel-good stories of this season, Sweatt, in his first NHL game, scored the game-winning goal on his first and only shot. If you are keeping score at home, his shooting accuracy is 100% for his NHL career. Although Lee only had 8:49 of ice time, he will get a bigger role in the upcoming games as Alex Edler is out for what is believed to be 8-10 weeks. To say losing Edler is HUGE, would be an understatement. But this is the time that our depth will be tested and young guys like Sweatt and Tanev will be given the opportunity to make a statement. Here’s to hoping that Edler recovers fast and is back in time for the playoffs!