With Team Canada’s gold medal performance in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi still fresh in our minds, it’s time once again to try and focus on the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The quick change-over from teammates to opponents to teammates again is all part of the Olympic experience. But now that their country’s flag on the front of their jersey has been replaced with the NHL logos, it’s time to reacquaint themselves for the stretch run. That means, no more giveaways, *ahem* Daniel Sedin, though Canada appreciated the assist on Sunday morning. In all, 10 St. Louis Blues players and 7 Vancouver Canucks players were on Olympic rosters, and all, save for a few exceptions, should be back on the ice tonight at Rogers Arena.
Tonight marks the start of a 3-game homestand for the Canucks. Believe it or not, despite their troubles this season, the Canucks have won every meeting against the Blues this season. Sure their last matchup, back on January 10th, was in the midst of better times for the Canucks, but what the hey, with how the last couple of months have turned out, it’s good to cling on to something good.
The Canucks have 22 games left this season, and as we speak, they’re outside the playoff picture. But if we were to look for reason for hope, they’re also still within striking distance of a wild card spot and the 3rd seed in the Pacific Division. In fact, a couple of points tonight could move them back into the playoff picture, although the teams around them all have games in hand.
With fresh legs, the well-rested Eddie Lack will be in goal tonight to give Roberto Luongo the night off.
Lack had a good two weeks. Well, mostly. He did get to watch The Bachelor, but he also had time to make – and lose – an ill-fated bet.
I wish I was kidding.
Henrik Sedin is expected to play tonight after missing 9 games with a rib injury. Of course, the injury kept him off Team Sweden for the Olympics, but I heard they did alright without him.
Hank hasn’t scored a goal in 19 games; Daniel hasn’t scored one in 17 games. Their usual linemate, Alex Burrows hasn’t scored, well, since last season. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Canucks are 24th in the league in scoring.
Ryan Kesler won’t play tonight and is day-to-day with a hand injury. Chris Tanev, Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts are no-gos as well.
For the Blues, Jordan Leopold and Vladimir Sobotka will not be in the lineup tonight.