[Every Sunday, Caylie King looks at the Canucks week that was and the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@cayking).]
73 GP, 47-17-9, 103 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference)
Captain Henrik Sedin has done a commendable job of keeping up with brother Daniel in the NHL scoring race. He’s scored in 7 of his last 8 games and has 11 points (2G – 9A) in that stretch. It doesn’t look like he’ll reach his career-high, franchise-record of 112 points that he set last season, whilst winning the Hart and the Art trophies, but still leads the league with 68 assists. His 86 points has him currently tied with Steven Stamkos for second place in NHL scoring, 7 points behind Daniel.
Mason Raymond has 2 goals in his last 14 games with a minus-7 rating. Although the effort looks like it’s there, he’s been struggling to score consistently all season long . With the recent injury of Manny Malholtra, AV has demoted May Ray to fourth line center; while giving Chris Higgins a turn on the 2nd line. Higgins has looked great so far, using his speed and generating scoring chances; he has fit into the system seamlessly. Hopefully Higgins’ good play will put some fire under Raymond; I wouldn’t mind him scoring consistently come playoff time.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 vs. Detroit Red Wings (4:30 PM start, away)
After four days off, the Canucks head into Detroit to take on Pavel Datsyuk and friends. How else do you describe the Wings’ consistent play, year in and year out? They are one of the best hockey organizations in the league.
Detroit has won 4 of their last 5 games and are holding onto 2nd spot in the Western Conference. (They have been for quite some time now.) This game could very likely be a Western Conference final preview.
The Wings have won 2 of 3 games this year against the Canucks this season. Both of their wins came in extra time: one in the shootout and the other thanks to an overtime winner by Henrik Zetterberg. Speaking of Zetterberg, he has 2 goals, 3 assists and is a plus-2 against the Canucks. He also leads the team in scoring with 72 points (20G-52A), averaging a point a game.
If you happen to be in “Hockey town”, the Red Wings have some great deals for families – 2 premium tickets, 2 cokes, and 2 hot dogs for $78. I think you can get about 4 beers at Rogers Arena for the same price.
Friday, March 25, 2011 vs. Atlanta Thrashers (4:30 PM start, away)
The Canucks head into Atlanta for the first and only meeting of the season. ATL is led by a few of our friendly foes, ex-Hawks, Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. The Thrashers had a great first half of the season, but have been dropping consistently in the second half. They have 1 win in their last 6 games and currently sit in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, 6 points out of a playoff spot.
BC boy and Thrashers captain Andrew Ladd has 8 points (4G-4A) in his last 10 games, however he is a minus- 7 in his last 3 games. Ladd also leads the team in scoring with 26 goals and 53 points but he is a minus-11.
Arguable the most effective player in the last couple of playoff series against the Canucks, we don’t mind that we only see Buffy once a year now. He’s moved from forward to defenseman, which has translated into a career year for him in assists (31), points (50), and goals (19).
Sunday, March 27, 2011 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (2:00 PM, away)
The Blue Jackets hopes of making the playoff is hanging by a thread. They sit 8 points out of a playoff spot and have not been helping their cause by going 2-4-4 in their last 10 games.
This is the last meeting of the season; the Canucks have won all 3 previous matchups.
Captain Rick Nash had a huge 4 point (2G-2A) night, in their last game against the Wild, and he leads the team in scoring with 31 goals and 65 points, all while being a plus-player.
Events of the Week: The Good, The Bad, and The “Did he really just call a major penalty?”
The Good: This week, the Canucks became the first team in the NHL to reach the century mark. In the process, they clinched the Northwest Division and a playoff spot. The boys in blue sit 9 points ahead of Detroit for the Western Conference lead and 7 points ahead of Philadelphia for the President’s Trophy race. (The Wings and Flyers do have 1 and 2 games in hand, respectively.)
The Bad: In the game against the Avalanche on Wednesday, the Canucks suffered a huge blow to the team and locker room. After getting hit in the eye with the puck, Manny Malholtra skated rapidly to the locker room, while blood was pouring from his face. We were all hoping he would get stitched up and be out by the next period. Unfortunately, Manny suffered a serious eye injury that required surgery and places him out indefinitely. Uncle Manny is a huge part of this team’s leadership core, on and off the ice, and more importantly is a fantastic person. We wish him all the best in his recovery. We miss you already!
The “Did he really just call a major penalty?”: In the last game against the Coyotes, Burrows was called for a major penalty against Vernon Fiddler, which give the Yotes a five minute powerplay and Burr was kicked out for the remainder of the game. Yes he did hit him in the numbers. Yes Fiddler did an excellent job of going into the boards in an awkward position. But a MAJOR penalty? I do believe Burr deserved a two for boarding, but the call on the ice changed the entire game, seeing Phoenix score 2 goals on the PP. I hate to blame the refs for a loss, but all I ask for is consistency throughout the game.