Posted March 31, 2012 on
AP on Fox
Superb goaltending is one reason the Vancouver Canucks are already Northwest Division champions for a fourth consecutive season, and are attempting a run at another Presidents' Trophy.
It looks like the Calgary Flames may miss out on the playoffs for a third straight season.
The Canucks look to extend their longest winning streak of 2011-12 and officially eliminate the Flames from the playoff race Saturday night at Rogers Arena.
Stellar work from netminders Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo has helped Vancouver (48-21-9) win five in a row to pull within a point of St. Louis for first place in the Western Conference. The Canucks are two points behind the New York Rangers in the race for the Presidents' Trophy, which they won for the first time last season.
All three clubs have four games left in the regular season, and Schneider and Luongo may provide the difference in the race.
Schneider is 12-2-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average and one shutout in his last 15 games, including a 1.00 GAA while winning three in a row. He made 28 saves in Friday's 5-2 victory over Dallas.
Luongo is 2-0-1 over his past three starts, including a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles on Monday, his most recent outing. Schneider has started the last two games - made necessary after Luongo woke up with a stiff neck Friday and couldn't get loose during warmups.
"You never want to be forced into that situation," Schneider said. "You hope everything is fine with Lou, but that's my job."
Vancouver now will try to win six straight for the first time since a seven-game run March 5-16, 2011.
All-Star center Henrik Sedin had three assists Friday for the Canucks, giving him 10 over his last nine contests and six during the five-game winning streak.
Twin brother Daniel Sedin, the team leader with 30 goals, is expected to miss a sixth consecutive game with a concussion.
Chris Higgins has been filling the scoring void effectively, netting four goals in four games to match the total from his previous 33 games. Higgins has two goals and two assists in his last three meetings with Calgary.
The Flames (35-29-15) are on the brink of elimination due in part to a 1-4-3 slump, which has left them five points behind Dallas and Phoenix for the final two playoff spots with three games left in the regular season.
Calgary has been held to two goals or fewer in each loss during that woeful stretch, including Friday's 4-1 home defeat to Colorado.
"In the last eight games, that's probably been the worst defensive games I've seen this team play all year and that's why our offense has struggled," coach Brent Sutter said. "You can't score seven goals in seven games when you're having 20-some goals scored against you. It doesn't work."
Jarome Iginla ended a seven-game goal drought when he tallied against the Avalanche. However, the captain has just one goal in his last 13 meetings with Vancouver - none in the past four.
These teams will conclude their season series Thursday in Calgary in the penultimate game of the regular season for both clubs.
BEST OF MAXIM
The Vancouver Canucks are hopeful left wing Daniel Sedin will be ready for the 1st round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
They're not scoring goals like they have with him, but the Vancouver Canucks are winning games. Going 4-0 since the Sedin hit by Duncan Keith versus the Blackhawks last week.
Sedin, 31, has collected a team-high 30 goals with 37 assists for the Canucks,...
Top 50 #Canucks friends to follow on Twitter
Every day this week NWSB has been posting 10 of the top 50 follows in #Canucks nation in no particular order. It kept me busy too. I almost had not time to fire out my Canucks All Access for the week.
But that is up to.
Notice someone important (like yourself?) not on the list?
Social Media: Canucks
Add your honourable mentions in the...
The 2012 NHL playoffs are right around the corner. We all remember what happened in Vancouver BC last year after the Canucks lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the Boston Bruins. June 15 2011 will NOT be a day people of Vancouver want to remember. Yes indeed. Vancouver rioted. The city made the worlds headlines for all the wrong reasons. The exact opposite type of exposure...
Second Star of the week for me! The Canucks Goaltending
Remember my goaltending rant in this column a few weeks ago?
In fact, just to make sure it never was mentioned again, I had my editor remove it from the sites history. This week, Luongo and Schneider put on a show. Each had a shutout in tough 1-0 wins, and Luongo stopped 38 shots in a 3-2 win against Colorado...
25-8-7 since Jan 1st
The Vancouver Canucks struggled to bring their playoff intensity on Saturday, but managed to make the most of their performance against the Flames, forcing overtime in a 3-2 comeback over Calgary on Hockey Night in Canada.
Roberto Luongo had a shaky return to the crease after sitting out Friday’s game with a sore neck and Marc-Andre Gragnani buried his first...
Is it just me or are the Vancouver Canucks winning but still not getting any credit? Yes, it's been four in a row now and NWSB Insider Josh Hall says it's about time we trust the Captain Henrik Sedin. Who will start against the Dallas Stars Friday? Should it be Cory Schneider? He's the only one to beat them in three tries. Bah humbug to all you bandwagoners. Shame on you.
Flames vs Canucks Game Recap
Did you miss the Calgary Flames vs. Vancouver Canucks Saturday night on Hockey night in Canada?
BOXSCORE | Q’s POST GAME RECAP
We’ve got the highlights for you.
Flames vs. Canucks highlights courtesy NHL.com.
CLICK HERE CHECK OUT THE CANUCKS CLUBHOUSE TODAY AT NWSB!
© NWSports "Q" for North West Sports Beat, 2012. |
Vancouver Canucks Playoff Chances - Sports Club Stats
According to Sports Club Stats, it will be a team from the Pacific division.
Can't really say any of those teams scare me, though none will be easy.
If I had to rank them for preferability... Phx/LA/Dal/SJ?
The results are in and your Vancouver Canucks are officially ________!
Fill it with what you will.
With what happened this past week and Saturday night, the reactions are endless.
Below is the customary list of best AND worst Canucks related writing from all over the interwebz the last few days.
What are the HERMETIC NWSB staff saying?
For the flat our best Canucks coverage...
Canucks host the Not Out Flames Saturday night
The Vancouver Canucks extended their win streak to five games last night and in the process they returned to the team that resembled the one that won the President’s trophy last season. On Saturday night the Canucks host a Calgary team that saw their playoff chances all but disappear with their seventh loss in eight games on Friday...
Friday Night Full of Stars
The Vancouver Canucks recent schedule has allowed them to play kingmaker in the race for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
A run of games against Dallas, Colorado, and Los Angeles has helped the Canucks not only effectively eliminate the Avalanche from the race but also helped give the team a week long litmus test to see how they measure...
Well this is good….
The Canucks can score. The Canucks can score on the powerplay. The Canucks can put together a pretty impressive winning streak.
To think that such a large portion of Canucks Nation was pressing the panic button not more than a week ago is comical. Sure there are still some kinks to be worked out but come on; any sane being could’ve foreseen them bumping the...
Loungo's in net, Ebbett is back from that collerbone injury suffered in the Boston game. Weise and Bieksa are out.
This may have been the only goal but Colorado threw the entire kitchen sink at Cory Schneider. Schneider responded in a big way. We will get into that in a bit about goalie controversies and the such. Last night had a little of everything as we finally got down to nine teams in each conference having a "realistic" shot at a playoff berth. That...