Posted March 20, 2012 on
AP on Fox
The Vancouver Canucks might have a firm grasp on the second seed in the Western Conference, but they are having a hard time building momentum heading into the playoffs.
Looking to bounce back from their latest defeat, the Canucks face another difficult challenge Wednesday night when they visit a Chicago Blackhawks team trying to match a season high with its fifth consecutive victory.
Thanks to a comfortable lead in the Northwest Division, Vancouver (43-21-8) appears locked into the second seed in the West. However, the Canucks have not played like a playoff team during their current 3-5-2 stretch.
"We're always looking for wins," said captain Henrik Sedin, who has a team-leading 70 points but no goals and four assists in his last 11 games. "It's about playing our game and trusting that our system is going to win us games and not individual efforts."
That did not work for the Canucks during Monday's 2-0 loss at Minnesota. Despite putting 33 shots on net, the Canucks lost for the fifth time in seven contests. Vancouver has been outscored 26-17 during that stretch.
"We've got to muster up a way to find a way to win games,'' center Ryan Kesler said. "If we play the way we can and we get better, we shouldn't have a problem winning the majority of our games from here on out.''
A visit to rival Chicago (41-25-8) has the potential to light a fire under the Canucks, who knocked the Blackhawks out of last postseason and have won two of three against them in 2011-12, including a 6-2 victory at the United Center on Nov. 16.
"You've got to be at your best against (Vancouver)," said Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville, whose team eliminated the Canucks from the playoffs in 2009 and 2010. "Every game has been a big one against them over the last few years."
Henrik and Daniel Sedin combined for two goals and five assists in Chicago in November. Daniel Sedin scored in overtime of a 3-2 home victory in the teams' last meeting Jan. 31.
Roberto Luongo, who made 38 saves at Chicago in his only appearance against the Blackhawks this season, will be in net Wednesday after sitting out Vancouver's last two games. He is 0-3-0 with a 5.28 goals-against average over his last four starts.
Facing a Blackhawks club that has outscored its opponents 18-7 during a four-game winning streak might not put Luongo in the ideal position to end his personal slump. Chicago has held a 7-0 scoring advantage in the first periods of its last three contests.
Patrick Sharp scored twice, Duncan Keith had four assists and Marian Hossa added one of each to reach 900 career points Tuesday as Chicago posted three goals in the first period of a 5-1 rout of Columbus. The sixth-place Blackhawks, 8-1-1 since a three-game skid, are two points behind Nashville and Detroit for fourth and fifth, respectively, in the West.
"We're feeling good right now,'' Keith said. "The one thing we've learned is we're not going to take anything for granted. We're playing better but we know there's still more there that we have to get better at. We're happy with our starts the last three games.''
Corey Crawford, who has stopped 79 of 83 shots during Chicago's four-game winning streak, made 24 saves Tuesday. He's 1-1-1 with a 3.27 GAA versus Vancouver this season.
Sharp has six goals and seven assists in his last nine games, but only one goal against the Canucks in 2011-12.
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
First reported by Pro Hockey talk on the NBC Network. Vancouver Canucks forward Daniel Sedin will NOT play tonight versus the Dallas Stars in western conference action.
Sedin was injured during Wednesday's matchup versus the Chicago Blackhawks after he was elbowed in the head by Duncan Keith in the first period.
Keith, who received a minor penalty for the hit, is expected...
Canucks left winger Daniel Sedin has returned to Vancouver after taking an elbow to the head in a game against Chicago.
A team spokesperson confirmed Thursday that Sedin flew home following Vancouver's 2-1 overtime loss to the Blackhawks a night earlier, when Sedin was sidelined by a hit from Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith in the first period.
Keith received a 2-minute elbowing...
Vancouver Canucks left wing Daniel Sedin left Wednesday's game against the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period.
Sedin exited the contest shortly after he was elbowed in the head by Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith.
Although he played on a subsequent power play, Sedin did not return to the game. Earlier in the period, Sedin had hit Keith in the head with his shoulder.
Last night there was a lot of outrage about Blackhawks defensemen Duncan Keith's hit on Canucks forward Daniel Sedin.
What I didn't see was a lot of outrage about Daniel Sedins hit on Duncan Keith, and both hits are bad. Being consistent, I think you can see that both players "could be" required to sit a game or two, both hits are bad and unnecessary. I also...
Betting Man? Canucks hope to turn it around against Dallas
The Vancouver Canucks showed up on Wednesday night against Chicago – that’s for sure but the one goal they managed to score 27 seconds into the game wasn’t enough as they lost their second straight game and their fourth in the last five.
Vancouver Canucks (43-21-9) at Dallas (40-28-5)
When: 8:30 PM ET, Thursday, March...
Push the button!
Vancouver Canucks fans it IS time to panic!
Over the past few weeks, the dissatisfaction with this (still SECOND PLACED TEAM!) has reached epidemic proportions. Never mind the fact that so many teams (each of the past five champions by the way) has gone through similar poor spells late in the season.
You know for sure that Alain Vigneault and Mike Gillis have lost...
With Shane Doan getting suspended for three games for elbowing Jamie Benn in the face, you've got to think that the Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith is going to get a game or two suspension for taking out the Canucks star forward Daniel Sedin with this high elbow to the head.
These types of dirty hits are not acceptable and the NHL needs to be more proactive in removing...
Despite struggling in recent weeks, the Vancouver Canucks still hold a comfortable lead atop the Northwest Division.
They may struggle even more if they're forced to play without Daniel Sedin.
With Sedin's status uncertain, the Canucks will try to cool off the surging Dallas Stars at American Airlines Center on Thursday night.
Vancouver (43-21-9) has stumbled to a 3-5...
The Vancouver Canucks want the NHL to throw the book at Duncan Keith for his hit on Daniel Sedin on Wednesday night. Ironic, isn’t it, that an organization that has taken more cheap/dirty hits than any in the league in … Continue reading →
Keith received two for elbowing.