The Vancouver Canucks are sitting on the outside looking in when it comes to the top eight in the Western Conference. Sure, it’s not crunch time yet, but the Canucks have to start making up some ground and moving up the standings. Regardless of what happens against Nashville on Tuesday, the Canucks can return home from this eastern swing no worse than .500, but with an eight game home stand coming up, now is the time to get on a streak.
The Canucks are going to be a busy team, playing eight games in the next fourteen days and a quick look at the standings show that now would be a good time get on a bit of a roll. With the NHL’s mediocrity point playing a factor early this season, a lot of teams are jockeying for playoff positioning, and are staying in the race. In fact the Canucks have not a single “loser” point this season to date which may explain why they are hovering around the eight spot. Making this home stand even more important, is the looming fourteen game road trip that starts at the end of January and ends on March 10th.
Roberto Luongo seems to be finding his groove, with big wins over New Jersey and a 38 save shutout of the struggling Flyers. Daniel Sedin should be feeling more and more comfortable, while the likes of Alexander Edler, Jannik Hansen, Alex Burrows and Kyle Wellwood have been better of late. At 10-4 on home ice this year it would seem the cards are falling into place.
Long home stands can be hard to deal with as well, so there will be challenges to remain focused. With the Christmas season upon us, the players will be with their families and have other expectations of them as well. This compressed part of the schedule will likely cut down on quality practice time as well, and that 0 for12 power play of late could use a little of that.
When you look at the standings, they aren’t in bad shape. Division leading Colorado has cooled off and are eight points ahead of the Canucks with one more win and the Canucks having two games in hand. But the Canucks have yet to really get on a roll this season, be it due to injuries or their weird and sporadic schedule.
Hopefully a solid win to end this road trip in Nashville, will set the team on the way to have some success at home and get on their first real winning streak of the season.