Caylie King

Mar 282013
 

Vancouver Canucks celebrate a goal against the Colorado Avalanche

Photo credit: Vancouver Sun

A few weeks ago, the very thought that Roberto Luongo could be traded by next week’s trade deadline scared many fans. The Canucks were in a slump, having won just 3 of their 11 games, and in part because their $9.3 million goaltending duo of Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo were battling inconsistency between the pipes. At that time, neither Schneider or Luongo had taken the reigns of the team’s no. 1 goaltending spot. Regardless of their play, on some level, having both in the lineup perhaps provided a sense of safety in numbers.

Before the Canucks’ current 5-game win streak, Schneider, specifically, was struggling. His timing was off and he seemed out of position at times. For a one-month stretch between February 15 and March 19, he was a rather pedestrian 2-3-3 with a 2.82 GAA and a 0.902 save percentage. And let’s not even get into his puckhandling adventures. Obviously, the Canucks’ struggles weren’t all his fault – he wasn’t getting much support from his defense and the team continues to struggle to score – but for that stretch, it seemed like he couldn’t make the big save when the Canucks needed him to, and that had Canucks fans a bit spooked.

Now, that sense of fear appears to have dissipated.

Going into tonight’s game against the last place Colorado Avalanche, Schneider, who will make his 6th consecutive start, is playing his best hockey of the season. He’s won his last 5 starts, which coincides with the Canucks’ 5-game win steak, and has a 0.98 GAA, a 0.962 save percentage and 2 shutouts in those games. Quickly, he’s worked his way back to more expected numbers, and for the season, he now has an 11-5-3 record with a 2.19 GAA (9th in the NHL), a 0.923 save percentage (3rd in the NHL), and 3 shutouts (4th in the NHL).

There will be very little room for error for Schneider if the much-anticipate Luongo trade occurs before the trade deadline. But it’s a great sign to finally see him settle in his role, and certainly, his play is helping alleviate fans’ fears of moving forward with him as the Canucks’ starting goaltender.

Canucks Record

18-9-6, 42 points (2nd in the Northwest Division, 4th in the Western Conference)

Season Series

The Canucks won the most recent meeting last Sunday. The Avs have actually had a dreadful month of March with only 3 wins in 12 games (3-8-1). They’re winless in their last 10 road games (0-7-3) and are dead last in the Western Conference. With 16 games to go, they’re still 10 points out of a playoff spot.

Who’s Hot

PA Parenteau is on a 3-game point streak (2G-3A-5P). He leads the Avs in goals (14) and points (33).

Who’s Not

Milan Hejduk has just 2 points in his last 8 games. Usually a big part of the Avs offense – he’s averaged 25 goals in his past 6 seasons – he’s had trouble finding the net and has just 4 goals and 7 assists in 25 games.

Quickies

  • Keith Ballard has a minor fracture in his foot and won’t play tonight. (Vancouver Province)
  • Roberto Luongo patiently waiting. Sitting and waiting. (Vancouver Sun)
Mar 262013
 

Mason Raymond of the Vancouver Canucks scores a spinorama goal in the shootout to beat the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Photo credit: Globe and Mail

Rick Nash was the face of the Columbus Blue Jackets for nine seasons.

So it was a bittersweet moment when the only true superstar the franchise had ever had agreed to waive his no-trade clause to go to the New York Rangers.

The Blue Jackets had only made the playoffs once in its not-so-storied history. The Rangers boasted some big names in their lineup and had just made the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2007. It was obvious that Nash wanted to go to a team that had a legitimate chance of, not only making the playoffs, but also making a run for the Stanley Cup, and that team wasn’t Columbus.

If you thought Columbus would have seller’s remorse, think again. An informal Twitter poll done by Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch asked whether or not Columbus fans would do the Rick Nash trade again – the Blue Jackets received Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, Tim Erixon and a first round draft pick in return – and the answer was overwhelming on the “Yes” side.

And who would blame them?

Perhaps it’s a by-product of a shortened season, but with only one-third of the season left to play, there’s not much difference between the two teams. The Rangers, who many thought would be legitimate Stanley Cup contenders, especially with Nash in the lineup, are barely clinging on to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, the Blue Jackets, who many thought would occupy their usual spot in the bottom of the Western Conference, are only 2 points out of a playoff spot.

Starting at the top, where GM John Davidson has started to mold the Blue Jackets into a young, hard-working team, and through the lineup where guys like Dubinsky, Anisimov, Nick Foligno, Mark Letestu, Jack Johnson and Sergei Bobrovsky are leading the team on a nightly basis, there is, for the first time in a long time, a feeling among the faithful that their team can beat any team on any given night.

And it took the trading of their superstar in the summer to pave the way for their success so far this season.

Canucks Record

17-9-6, 40 points (2nd in the Northwest Division, 4th in the Western Conference)

Season Series

This is the third and final meeting between the Canucks and the Blue Jackets this season. Neither of the first two meetings were decided in regulation time. In their first meeting on March 7, Matt Calvert scored the OT winner for the Blue Jackets. Five days later, Mason Raymond scored the shootout winner to win the game for the Canucks and kickstart their current 6-2-0 run.

Who’s Hot

Sergei Bobrovsky has been the Blue Jacket’s best player this season. Playing in the final year of his contract, Bobrovsky is 8-1-2 in his last 11 starts. He is 3rd in the NHL in save % (0.927) and is 6th in both GAA (2.17) and shutouts (2).

Cory Schneider, who is getting his fifth consecutive start, has won 4 straight games and has allowed only 5 goals in that span.

Quickies

  • Keith Ballard will once again suit up on the third line with Andrew Ebbett and Alex Burrows. #kb4ward (Vancouver Province)
  • Jussi Jokinen and Kaspar Daugavins are on waivers, and the Canucks should make a claim for both of them. (Pass It To Bulis)
Mar 232013
 

Henrik Sedin of the Vancouver Canucks in the middle of a scrum with Colin Fraser of the Los Angeles Kings.

If the playoffs started today, guess who the Canucks will play in the first round. That’s right. None other than the defending champions, the Los Angeles Kings.

(*shudder* I still can’t get used to saying that.)

Who knows how the standings will unfold in the next 18 games, but given the recent history between the two teams, which includes some cheap shots by the Kings’ organization over social media, and that both will play in the same division after realignment next season, perhaps we’re seeing the start of a brand new rivalry.

Like the Canucks, the Kings have been dealing with their share of injuries. Especially on the blueline, where they’ve missed Willie Mitchell all season and Matt Greene for pretty much all season, they’ve shown some depth. In particular, two young defensemen, Slava Voynov and Jake Muzzin, have stepped up and become big parts of the Kings’ success this season.

Voynov, who is only playing in his second NHL season, leads all Kings’ defensemen in scoring with 19 points (4G-15A). His 19 points also places him among the top-10 scoring defensemen in the entire league.

Muzzin is a good story. Drafted late – and then left unsigned – by the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Kings took a chance on him and he has responded with 13 points (6G-7A) in 27 games, 1 more point than Drew Doughty, and a team-best plus-13 rating. His 6 goals rank 3rd among all NHL defensemen; only Brian Campbell and PK Subban have more.

On top of their injury woes, the Canucks will now be dealing with losing Alex Edler for this weekend’s games. Edler, who leads all Canucks skaters in ice-ime (24:01 minutes per game) and all Canucks defensemen in points (5G-12A-17P), has been suspended for 2 games after his, ummm, run-in with Phoenix goaltender Mike Smith on Thursday night. If there was ever a time for guys like Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison to really earn their new contracts, this would be it. Both Bieksa and Garrison have just 7 points each this season.

Canucks Record

15-9-6, 36 points (2nd in the Northwest Division, 5th in the Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Anze Kopitar has points in 5 of his last 6 games (1G-5A) and currently leads the Kings in assists (19) and points (28).

It’s safe to say that Cory Schneider is playing one of his better stretches of hockey of the season. He has won his last 2 starts and has been the deciding factor in each game. In both starts combined, he’s allowed just 3 goals on 68 shots (.956 save %) – a welcome sight for the Canucks, who have struggled to find consistency between the pipes in the last few weeks.

Who’s Not

Back in June, after the Kings won the Stanley Cup, they also signed goaltener Jonathan Quick to a 10-year contract extension and sent out this tweet: “To clarify, that’s 10 years after next year — so 11 years in total of our goaltender being better than yours.”

Fast-forward to today, and Quick is a so-so 10-9-2 on the season with a 0.897 save percentage – 40th among all NHL goaltenders – and a 2.54 GAA – 22nd among all NHL goaltenders.

Just sayin’.

Mar 212013
 

After Ray Whitney decided to take his talents to Dallas this past off-season, the Coyotes were left with a big hole in their offense. Whitney had a team high 77 points (24G-53A) last season, so without his production players like Radim Vrbata and Shane Doan were expected to carry the offensive load.

Shane Doan

Courtesy of Christian Petersen


To say that the Coyotes have struggled to score as of late is an understatement. They have not won in their last 4 games (0-3-1) while being shut out in 3 of those 4 games and outscored 11-2 altogether. In fact, the Coyotes went a franchise record 245:30 minutes of scoreless hockey before Shane Doan scored in the 3rd period in their last game against the Los Angeles Kings.

The notion of peppering shots on goal but not getting results is all too familiar for Canucks fans. And although the Canucks’ scoring troubles aren’t quite as bad as the Coyotes’ at the moment, there is still cause for concern – the Canucks have scored 2 or less goals in 9 of their last 12 games.

This is the second meeting between the two teams. By current standards, their last meeting in February was a “high-scoring” match-up when the Coyotes beat the Canucks 4-2. Kyle Chipchura led Phoenix with 2 goals that night.

Canucks Record

14-9-6, 34 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 6th in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Hard to say any of the Coyotes are “hot” right now, but Shane Doan has been the only ‘Yote to score more than once in their last 4 games. (He has 2 goals.) Doan is 1 point behind the team lead with 18 points (11G-7A) on the season.

Daniel Sedin is currently riding a 3-game point streak. He has 4 points (1G-3A) in that span.

Who’s Not

Radim Vrbata has been sidelined with injuries this season and has missed 16 games so far. In his 14 games played he has just 4 goals – a far cry from his 35-goal season last season.

Chris Higgins has gone pointless in his last 5 games and is a dreadful minus-7 in that span.

Quickies

  • With Chris Higgins, Steve Pinizzotto, Zack Kassian, Ryan Kesler and David Booth all injured, the Canucks have summonned Andrew Gordon from the Wolves and will likely play a defenseman as their 12th forward. In the over/under, pick the under. (Vancouver Sun)
Mar 192013
 

Brian Elliott and Jaroslav Halak were the cornerstones for the St. Louis Blues last season, when, for the first time since 2002, they made it to the second round of the NHL playoffs. Elliott and Halak combined to win the Jennings Trophy last season as the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Elliott posted a 23-10-4 record; while Halak went 26-12-7. Elliott also led the NHL in GAA (1.56), save % (.940), and was second in shutouts (9).

Needless to say, coming into this season goaltending was not a major concern for the Blues. But as the Canucks faithful know, a team’s goalie situation can change very quickly.

This season, Halak has been plagued with groin issues and Elliott’s play has declined dramatically. The latter is winless in his last 6 starts going 0-5-1 and allowing 24 goals in that span.

Enter rookie Jake Allen.

Jake Allen

Courtesy of Darryl Dyck


Allen has been sensational for the Blues. In just his first NHL season (though he did play about a minute of game 2 of the Blues’ second round playoff series last season against the Kings), he has an 8-1-0 record and is in the top-10 in the NHL in GAA (2.18) and save % (.920). He has not allowed more than 3 goals in any of his starts. (Remember the good old days of less than 3 goals against, Canucks fans?)

Allen’s stellar play probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. Canadian fans might remember that he was a part of Team Canada when they won the gold medal in the 2008 U-18 World Hockey Championship. Allen went 6-1-0 in that tournament, and was named tournament MVP and its top goaltender. He was also a part of Team Canada when they won the silver medal in the 2010 World Junior Hockey Championship in Saskatoon; he posted a 4-0-0 record in that tournament.

The Blues come to Vancouver for the two teams’ second meeting of the season. In their first meeting back in February, the Canucks blew a 2-1 first period lead and eventually lost 4-3 in a shootout. Mason Raymond tied up the game with less than 2 minutes remaining in the third period to help earn the Canucks a point.

After a brief lull, the Blues are rolling again with 5 wins in their last 6 games. On the other hand, the Canucks are in a tailspin. After blowing yet another lead in last night’s 3-1 loss to the Minnesota Wild, the Canucks have just 3 wins in their last 11 games.

Cory Schneider should get the start in goal for the Canucks tonight.

Canucks Record

13-9-6, 32 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 7th in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Chris Stewart is an impending UFA next season and is making every effort to boost his value in the open market. Through 28 games, Stewart leads the Blues in goals (14) and points (28). He’s currently on a tear with an active 3-game point streak (5G-2A-7P) and 15 points in his last 10 games.

Who’s Not

David Peron has just 1 goal in his last 5 games.

Mar 182013
 

When the Minnesota Wild signed BFFs Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to similar 13-year, $98 million contracts this off-season, some wondered whether or not owner Craig Leopold had finally lost his mind. Don’t get me wrong. Not that these outrageously big contracts weren’t deserved – Parise is a consistent 30-goal scorer and recorded a career-high 94 points in 2008-2009, and Ryan Suter is one of the top defensemen in the league with an average of over 30 points a season over the last 5 seasons – but Minnesota is still a relatively-small market team and Leopold cried poor not long after the deals. Committing $196 million to 2 players is no small thing.

Zach Parise and Ryan Suter

Courtesy of Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports


Fast forward to today and it seems like the Parise and Suter signings have paid off for the Wild. For starters, business is as ‘good as it’s ever been’ in Minnesota. On the ice, the Wild are now leading the Northwest Division, wrestling top spot again from the Canucks this weekend. And leading the Wild? Parise and Suter, of course.

Parise has found some good chemistry with captain Mikko Koivu and both have 22 points each (Parise has 11 goals). After a bit of a slow start, Suter has hit his stride and leads the team with 23 points (2G-21A).

Tonight’s game, the final meeting for the Canucks and the Wild this season, will be another battle for first place in the Northwest Division. The Canucks do lead the season series 2-1, but were trumped in Minnesota just over a week ago.

Canucks Record

13-8-6, 32 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 7th in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Suter has 14 points in his last 10 games and hasn’t gone more than 1 game without a point since February 7, 2013. He is also averaging a league-high 27:16 minutes of ice-time per game.

Alex Edler has 4 points (1G-3A) and is a plus-3 in his last 2 games.  Though while his offensive contributions are welcomed by the currently offensively-challenged Canucks, his defensive breakdowns also seem to be more commonplace.

Who’s Not

Dany Heatley is tied for the team’s worst plus/minus with a minus-11 and has only managed 2 assists in his last 5 games and 6 points in his last 12 games.

Quickies

Mar 162013
 

Coach Alain Vigneault admitted the Canucks were embarrassed after their 8-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings back in February. They should be. They had a 3-2 lead going into the first intermission of that game before allowing the Wings to score 6 unanswered goals in the second and third periods.

Roberto Luongo, who was in net for all of the Wings’ goals that afternoon, will get the start tonight and a chance to redeem himself.

Vancouver Millionaires Jerseys

Courtesy of canucks.com


If it’s any comfort, the Wings’ offense has sputtered a bit since then. In their 9 games since putting 8 past Luongo, they’ve only scored 15 goals. They scored 3 powerplay goals that night; their powerplay is 3-for-26 since.

Not that the Canucks are hot themselves. Sure, they scored 7 goals against the Nashville Predators the other night, but their powerplay hasn’t connected in their last 27 opportunities.

This is the Wings’ 3rd game in 4 nights. They beat the Edmonton Oilers 3-2 in overtime in Edmonton last night and lost 5-2 to the Calgary Flames in Calgary on Wednesday night.

Canucks Record

13-7-6, 32 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Pavel Datsyuk has points in 5 of his last 6 games (1G-4A-5P), and is second in the team in scoring with 27 points (9G-18A) in 27 games. Defenseman Niklas Kronwall scored in both games in Alberta and has 3 points (2G-1A) in the road trip so far.

Jannik Hansen sits 3rd in the Canucks in scoring behind Henrik and Daniel Sedin. Hands-up if you saw that coming. (Didn’t think so.) The Honey Badger has 9 points (4G-5A) in his last 7 games.

Who’s Not

God bless his effort, but Alex Burrows is pointless in 4 games.

Wings scoring leader, Henrik Zetterberg, and 27-year old rookie, Damien Brunner, both have just 3 assists each in their last 9 games.

Quickies

  • The Canucks are celebrating the Vancouver Millionaires and donning the Millionaires jersey tonight. (canucks.com)
  • OMG IS KEITH BALLARD COMING BACK IN THE LINEUP?? (Vancouver Province)
  • It’s Luongo’s turn to be no. 1. (Vancouver Sun)
  • Dude, where’s our powerplay? (Vancouver Sun)
Mar 142013
 

After winning just 1 of 3 games in their recently-concluded road trip, the Canucks head back to Rogers Arena for a 4-game home stand. They’ll look to build on their shootout win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday and improve on their rather average 6-3-3 home record.

Like the Canucks, the Nashville Predators are in a dogfight to make the playoffs. They currently sit in 10th place in the Western Conference, but are among a group of 8 teams (including the Canucks) that are within 2 points of each other. In fact, after the Chicago Blackhawks and Anaheim Ducks, only 8 points separate 3rd place and 15th place in the wild, wild West.

Alex Edler and Scott Hannan

Photo by Frederick Breedon

Perhaps none of this should be a surprise to the Preds. While they managed to retain Shea Weber – thanks to Paul Holmgren, it only took them $110 million to do it – Weber himself hasn’t been as good this season as he has been in the past. Losing Ryan Suter does that. They’re also relying more on second-year players like Roman Josi and Gabriel Bourque.

Now, if you think this matters to Preds fans, or if you think the team would suffer in the box office because of the lockout, you’re wrong. The Predators have sold out all 12 home games so far this season and they expect to sell out the remaining 12 home games the rest of the way.

The Canucks and the Preds have already met once this season. Led by Roberto Luongo and his 23 saves, the Canucks won a 1-0 decision in Nashville back on February 22nd. Dale Weise, who scored the game’s lone goal halfway through the third period, was the unlikely hero.

Canucks Record

25 GP, 12-7-6, 30 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)

Who’s Hot

Jason Garrison has points in consecutive games (1G-1A-2P). He’s also been logging some additional ice-time – in the 23 to 25-minute range – while Kevin Bieksa remains injured (and Andrew Alberts remains in the lineup to play his whopping 10 minutes per game).

After a 5-game stretch during which he allowed an average of 4 goals per game, Pekka Rinne has 2 shutouts in his last 3 games.

Who’s Not

Despite his decent play and his beauty of a spinorama move in Tuesday’s shootout, Mason Raymond only has 4 points (2G-2A) in his last 13 games.

Quickies

  • Maple Ridge’s Vic Bartley was called up by the Predators over the weekend and will play his first-ever NHL game in Vancouver. (Maple Ridge News)
  • Known as the guy who cost the Canucks Revelstoke native, Aaron Volpatti, Steve Pinizzotto finished his conditioning stint with the Chicago Wolves yesterday, and is expected to join the Canucks today. (Vancouver Sun)
Mar 122013
 

Matt Calvert, Columbus Blue Jackets vs Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: Lancaster Eagle Gazette

The Vancouver Canucks have easily dominated the Northwest Division in recent years. Heck, they’ve dominated it early this season, going 6-2-1 in their first 9 games against NW foes to-date (versus a 4-5-6 record against the rest of the Western Conference). But after a lackluster effort in Minnesota a couple of days ago, the Canucks have allowed the Wild to pass them in the standings.

In fact, at the halfway point of this shortened season, the Canucks have just 28 points in 24 games – good for a 6th place with 3 other teams in the Western Conference – and only 4 points up from tonight’s opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’ve been wildly inconsistent, especially in the last couple of weeks, and the frustration is clearly mounting among the team’s faithful.

In the meantime, the Blue Jackets are in the midst of one of their more successful stretches in their franchise’s history. Fresh off sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in a home-and-home series this past weekend, and unbeaten in their last 7 games (5-0-2), they are currently the NHL’s hottest team.

Add to that, they have the NHL’s hottest goalie. On Monday, Sergei Bobrovsky was named the NHL’s first star of the week after going 4-0-0 with a 0.77 GAA and 0.972 save percentage.

Think the Philadelphia Flyers are having a bit of seller’s remorse right now?

And as for the Canucks’ own goalies, well, right now, they’re struggling to make the critical saves at critical points in the game. Like, in the game’s first minute or so.

Canucks Record

24 GP, 11-7-6, 28 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 6th in Western Conference

Who’s Hot

After going goalless in the first 13 games of the season, Henrik Sedin has a 3-game goal scoring streak and a 7-game point streak (4G-5A-9P). Chris Higgins has 4 goals in his last 7 games.

For the Blue Jackets, Nick Foligno has 7 points (1G-6A) in his last 7 games. RJ Umberger has a 3-game point streak (2G-1A-3P).

Quickies

  • Roberto Luongo gets the start. (Vancouver Province)
  • Jordan Schroeder has been sent back down to the Chicago Wolves. It’ll be up to Andrew Ebbett now to get Dale Weise and Tom Sestito going. (TSN)
  • Manny Malhotra is also heading to Chicago to help the Canucks prospects with faceoffs. (Vancouver Sun)
Mar 052013
 

Cory Schneider of the Vancouver Canucks vs Patrick Marleau of the San Jose Sharks

Photo credit: Sports Network

Last week, the Canucks posted 1 win, sandwiched between 2 losses. They fell short to the Phoenix Coyotes, won a statement game against the Los Angeles Kings, and then travelled to Calgary 2 hours before puck drop and dropped what should have been a sure win against the Flames.

You can say the Canucks had a week that has been typical of their NHL season so far – if there’s one thing this team has shown through their first 21 games, it’s that they’ve been consistent in their inconsistency.

However, there are signs that the team may be awakening from a mid-season slumber. For one thing, Daniel Sedin has slowly moved up the NHL’s scoring ranks; with 15 points in his last 13 games, Danny now sits 21st in league scoring, just 7 points back of 3rd place, Chris Kunitz. (Hands up if you picked Chris Kunitz this high in your hockey pools. Didn’t think so.) Likewise, Henrik Sedin has 15 points in his last 11 games – including 6 multi-point games in his last 10 games – and now has 21 points for the season as well. The twins also did well to push back – physically (!) – against Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty and the Kings. Chris Higgins, with 3 goals in his last 4 games, is showing signs of life, and as well, 6’5″, 228 lb. Tom Sestito, with 2 fights in 2 games since being plucked from waivers, has given the Canucks some nastiness in the lineup.

Canucks Record

21 GP, 11-6-4, 26 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)

Who’s Next

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 vs. San Jose Sharks (7:00 PM start)

After starting the season with a 7-0-1 record, the Sharks have cooled off considerably, going 3-6-3 in their last 12 games. Currently, they’re tied for 4th place in the Western Conference, but as we all know, the standings change pretty much on a nightly basis in the wild, wild, West.

In their first meeting of the season back in January, the Sharks beat the Canucks 4-1. Joe Pavelski led the Sharks with 2 goals in that game, while Alex Burrows had the Canucks’ lone goal.

Jumbo Joe Thornton leads the Sharks in assists (18), points (22) and is a team-best plus-5. Patrick Marleau has a team-high 12 goals, including 3 game-winning goals.

Thursday, March 7, 2013 vs. Columbus Blue Jackets (4:00 PM)

For the Columbus Blue Jackets, it may be a new year, and they may have some new faces, but unfortunately, they seem to be getting the same results as they always have. With only 6 wins in their first 22 games this season, the Blue Jackets sit at the bottom of the Western Conference.

The Canucks went 3-0-1 against the Blue Jackets last season with Cory Schneider in net for all 3 wins. Something tells me AV’s coin flip will be calling out Schneids name on Thursday. Daniel Sedin had 5 points (3G-2A) in the 4 series games last season. Right now, he’s leading the Canucks with 21 points (8G-13A) in 21 games.

Vinny Prospal, Fedor Tyutin and Mark Letestu all have 12 points to lead the Blue Jackets.

Sunday, March 10, 2013 vs. Minnesota Wild (5:00 PM)

After 3 straight wins last week, a 2.00 GAA and 0.914 save percentage, Niklas Backstrom was named the NHL’s 3rd star of the week. As such, the Wild are breathing down the Canucks’ neck in the Northwest Division – they trail the Canucks by just 2 points now.

In their last game against each other in February, the Canucks won decisively by a score of 4-1. Cory Schneider was in net for that win..

Zach Parise and Dany Heatley lead the team with 8 goals each, while captain Mikko Koivu leads the team with 17 points.

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