Canucks All Access
North of the border the Canucks could do no wrong this week, beating down both the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Edmonton Oilers before heading south for the remainder of a six-game road trip.
The Canucks tallied twelve goals over two games over the weekend but struggled to find their stroke in Nashville.
The Predators protected their crease and kept the Canucks to the outside, shutting down Vancouver’s top three lines in a hard fought 3-1 victory.
Around the Rink
Alex Burrows broke through meeting a major milestone this week, playing in his 500thregular season game against the Predators on Tuesday.
The talented agitator was unable to bury one on his big day but will be counted on to kick-start his identical linemates in Thursday’s potential streak-snapping contest at Joe Louis Arena.
Along with Burrows, Canucks fans are looking towards General Manager Mike Gillis to add the final touches to another Stanley Cup calibre team.
Speculation has built as to what the final piece(s) could be, but defensive depth and fourth line grit have always been on Vancouver’s wish list.
In the Infirmary
The status of Byron Bitz’ sore hip is one of the key questions Mike Gillis will be asking his Head Coach and training staff heading into next week’s trade deadline. When Bitz has been healthy, the former Boston Bruins draft pick has been effective whether it be on Vancouver’s top unit alongside the Sedins or whether he was grinding it out on the fourth line.
Like Bitz, Keith Ballard has proven to be a valuable member of the Canucks while in the lineup, but recent concussion-like symptoms has brought Vancouver’s blue line depth into question.
Look for Gillis to seek size, experience and toughness in the days leading up to the trade deadline.
No NHL team can have enough of those three qualities heading into the grueling grind of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Chris Higgins blocked a shot with his hand during last night’s game against the Predators but made it clear to the media he would be ready to play in Thursday’s big game against the Detroit Red Wings.
Higgins suffered a few stitches but was positive an infection would not arise due to the latest wound.
“Maybe before, the little cuts and little openings in the skin, I wasn’t as proactive as I could have been. I don’t think this will be a problem.” Higgins told the Vancouver Sun.
Win over Detroit
The Canucks defeated the Red Wings tonight in Motown. A 3rd round shootout goal by Alex Burrows broke the Red Wings 23 game home unbeaten streak. Detroit fell to 29-8-2 when scoring the game’s first goal while Vancouver won for just the sixth time in 21 games when trailing first. Nine of the Canucks’ last 18 games have been decided in a shootout. Vancouver is 6-3 in those contests. (Recap here)
In The Community
SAFE & FUN HOCKEY
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Whats On Tap This Week?
|2/24/12||@NJ||W 3-0 11/1/10|
|2/26/12||@DAL||W 5-2 2/19/11|
|2/28/12||@PHO||W 2-1 (SO) 2/13/12|
|3/1/12||STL||W 3-2 (OT) 1/12/12|
|3/3/12||BUF||L 3-4 (OT) 11/15/10|
NWSB Managing Editor “Q” contributed to this report.