Originally written on NorthWest Sports Beat  |  Last updated 3/7/13
Let’s Go Boys! Mornin’, everyone. The Canucks are in Ohio tonight to take on the Columbus Bluejackets, who despite winning their last two games are still dead last in the NHL. Vancouver is coming off of a disappointing Tuesday night shootout loss to the San Jose Sharks. Tonight’s game is the first of a three game road trip that sees them play the Bluejackets twice. Seems kind of strange. It will also mark the first time the Canucks have played the Bluejackets this season and the first time since Rick Nash was traded to the New York Rangers. Time to get the ball rolling The Canucks are just barely holding on to the lead in the Northwest Division by three points over the Minnesota Wild. The Canucks, 3-4-3 in their last ten games and haven’t shown a real level of good, consistent play this season, save for a six game winning streak. But if the Canucks are going to start getting the ball rolling here, it needs to be tonight. The Canucks face the Bluejackets two times in the next three games. They also play the Wild in between their two games with Columbus. These six points are crucial points. Kevin Bieksa (groin, day-to-day) and Keith Ballard (charley horse, day-to-day) are out tonight. Cam Barker and Andrew Alberts will take their place and play as the teams third defensive pairing. Cory Schneider gets another shot in goal tonight as he tries to string together a few wins and get on a roll himself. The Canucks are just barely holding on to the lead in the Northwest Division. Noticed how I slipped Hodgson into the image? lol What the Canucks need to do to win: Win the game in regulation I know I said this in my last gameday post and right above this, but if the Canucks are hoping for a momentum builder then it happens with a win tonight in Columbus. Not in a shootout or overtime, but in regulation. While they’ve been able to win in overtime and occasionally in the shootout, The Canucks have been painful at times to watch during the shootout. There and there but what appears to be utter lack of preparation is still baffling to me. The Canucks need to win this game in regulation and not give up any points to teams in the West, even if it is the lowly Bluejackets. Win the special teams game The Canucks went 0-for-5 with the man advantage against the Sharks, including a chance in overtime to finish off the come from behind win. For whatever reason, maybe a stale power play unit, maybe the wrong people on it, whatever the case might actually be, the Canucks cannot take advantage of being a man up. Daniel Sedin hasn’t scored on the power play in what feels like an eternity, and then you’ve got Jordan Schroeder playing the point on the first unit. I don’t get it, not one bit. There needs to be some new life on the power play and they need to start taking advantage of it. The Canucks sit 20th in the league, a shell of the team that held the leagues best only two seasons ago. Change things up Due to injuries and the lack of organizational depth at center, the Canucks have been forced to mess around with the lines over the past few games. One of those being Mason Raymond at center. Now, Raymond hasn’t been bad in the role, I mean – sure he can barely win a face off, but his positioning has been good and his speed is an asset in this role; not to mention he’s been able to put up a few points, but I’m not liking Jordan Schroeder on the fourth line with Tom Sestito and Dale Weise. It’s a role I feel is more suited to Max Lapierre, but hey, that’s just my shap. I’d like to see Schroeder moved back up to the third line and Lapierre moved down. In my opinion, it gives the third line a little more offensive punch and the fourth line the “grit” to be a better fourth line. Well, there you have it, my long-winded rant gameday tips for the Canucks to win. The Canucks need to win it in regulation to avoid giving up more points in the conference, even if it is the Bluejackets, win and change up the special teams and get some new life on the third and fourth line with a simple swap of centermen. CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS BLOG IN THE CLUBHOUSE TODAY!
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