[Every week, Caylie King reviews the Canucks week that was and previews the Canucks week ahead. You can follow Caylie on Twitter (@CayKing).]
With a season-high 6-game win streak, including consecutive shutouts against the Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche last week, the Canucks have obviously turned the corner. They also finished last week with a decisive 5-2 win against the Dallas Stars and an OT win against the Calgary Flames, in which Andrew Ebbett returned from injury and scored the game-winning goal in OT, and overtook the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Western Conference.
The Canucks will finish their regular season this week against three teams that are out of the playoff race: Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers.
79 GP, 49-21-9, 107 points (1st in Northwest Division, 1st in Western Conference)
Tuesday, April 2, 2012 vs. Anaheim Ducks (7:00 PM start, home)
Will tonight mark Teemu Selanne’s last time visit to Vancouver? We’re still not sure. At 41, he could very well retire; but as the Ducks’ leading scorer (26G-39A-65P), he has proven that he could still be a force in this league. A well-respected, shoe-in Hall-of-Famer, many Ducks – many hockey fans – are hoping he’d come back and play one more year.
The Ducks have won 2 of the previous 3 meetings against the Canucks. In the season series, Bobby Ryan leads the Ducks with 4 points (2G-2A); Kevin Bieksa leads the Canucks with 4 points as well (1G-3A).
Even with the talent that the Ducks have on their roster, their play this year has been surprisingly inconsistent. They’ve lost 3 of their last 4 games.
Thursday, April 5, 2012 vs. Calgary Flames (6:00 PM start, away)
With their win on Saturday night, the Canucks eliminated the Calgary Flames from playoff contention, and have now won 3 of their 5 meetings this season. They’ve outscored the Flames by a combined score of 16-10 in those 5 games.
Jarome Iginla has 3 assists against the Canucks this season. Meanwhile, Alex Edler leads all Canucks skaters with 6 points (1G-5A) against the Flames.
Olli Jokinen has had a solid season this year. With 23 goals and 28 assists, he is having his best season, statistically, since the 2007-2008 campaign.
Saturday, April 7, 2012 vs. Edmonton Oilers (7:00 PM start, home)
The Oilers have lost 3 of their last 4 games and sit in 14th place in the Western Conference and 29th place in the entire NHL.
The Canucks have won 4 of their 5 previous meetings against the Oilers this season. In their season series, Jordan Eberle leads the Oilers with 6 points (2G-4A) while Alex Burrows leads the Canucks with 7 points (3G-4A).
As bad as this season has gone for Edmonton, Jordan Eberle has had a sensational year. In just his second NHL season, he leads the team in goals (33), assists (42) and points (75).
The Oilers will be without Taylor Hall – he is done for the season due to shoulder surgery.
Chris Higgins has been one of the most, if not the most, consistent Canuck this season. With 4 goals in his last 5 games, he now has 42 points for the season (17G-25A), which would mark his best offensive season since his 2007-2008 season in Montreal (27G-25A-56P).
Higgy leads by example on the ice and makes his linemates better. Recently, he’s found some chemistry on the 3rd line with Samme Pahlsson and Jannik Hansen, and that line has proved to be able to make some big plays on both ends of the ice.
With Daniel Sedin out with a concussion, AV decided to give Max Lapierre a shot on the “1st line” with Henrik Sedin and Alex Burrows. At first glance, this seemed like a confusing decision, but much like when he originally put Burrows on the Sedins’ line, AV’s logic worked and the move has sparked Lapierre’s play.
After not recording a point in 15 games, Lappy is on a 2-game point streak and has scored 2 goals and 3 assists in his last 4 games. It’s nice to see him take advantage of his opportunity and increase in ice time.