“A rolling stone collects no moss.”
Since losing to Chicago on March 21st, the Canucks have turned into the spoilers du jour.
They’ve gone 4-0 and each one of those wins has been a punch to the gut of the opposing team’s playoff hopes. Even Dallas who currently sits atop the Pacific Division is hanging on by a thread. That division’s leader changed twice on Wednesday as San Jose won earlier in the day and Dallas spanked Edmonton in the evening.
Those four wins though have come with meager efforts offensively. No blowouts or romps over teams. This team is rolling towards the playoffs but at the speed of a snail.
So when Vancouver plays Dallas on Friday for the 4th time in 34 days and 3rd time this month, keep in mind this could be a team the Canucks play in any of the opening three rounds.
The log jam at the bottom of the Western Conference is so tight, it would make Austin Powers proud.
So what can we watch for Friday night as the Canucks play the first of two games in two nights?
It Doesn’t Matter Who Starts
Be it Luongo or Schneider who gets the nod Friday, you can pretty much rest assured that it will be a Grade A performance.
Both are coming off shutouts and both are heating up at just the right time, even if Luongo gets 99% of the playoff ice time.
It would be a smart move to play Cory Schneider though. It took Vancouver three games to beat the Stars this season and the first time they did it was with Schneider-Man in net. He stopped 25 of 26 shots that night in a 2-1 Canucks victory.
Fast forward 24 hours and Roberto Luongo plays against Calgary, a team he has done very well against this season. More on that in the next preview but it’s easy to see who the best choice to start vs. Dallas is.
Samme is Janet, Higgy is Chrissy and Hansen is Jack. Okay so I’m just going by how their names sound here but seriously, what trio has been more fun to watch on the Canucks lately than them?
This is a double edged sword as it’s really nice to see the 3rd line do well but it’s troubling that they have in fact been the best. Even with Daniel Sedin out, the top six should still be superior.
Either way, while we hope said top six will come out of their funk soon, it has to make you happy heading into the playoffs seeing depth players playing the way these three are.
Listen to the Captain
The only thing Henrik Sedin has been consistent with lately has been his insistence that he likes the way the team is playing and that they are where they want to be. He’s said this is how the playoffs are going to be so low-scoring games will be good practice.
While some people are quick to still criticize not only the Canucks play, but Henrik’s words, he is right.
Games may not be 1-0 but they will be close and Vancouver will need to grind it out to win.
The game versus Dallas Friday will probably be the same. Two of the three games played against them have been decided by one goal and one was in overtime.
Point being the Canucks management made Henrik Captain for a reason; because he is a calming influence and a true voice of his teammates around him.
We’re fans, we aren’t in the locker room. So why not believe him?
BEST BET TO WIN: Vancouver Canucks
The Canucks are 1-1-1 against Dallas this season (in the last 34 days) but have the most recent victory. Four in a row should turn into five with Schneider and Lu rolling like they are and the offence poised to break out any time now.
Puck drop is at 7PM on TSN, NBC and TEAM1040 Radio.