March 13 2010 10:58AM
The Vancouver Canucks host a hockey game at GM Place for the first time in 44 days, as the Ottawa Senators come down for the first of back-to-back home games for the Canucks.
After 14 games, 44 days, and an Olympic break away from home, the Canucks return to the friendly confines of GM Place. Vancouver had what most would consider a very successful road trip. When some thought this record road trip could kill their season, it did in fact strengthen it. They improved their away record and widened their lead in the Northwest division.
There were a few negatives however. Roberto Luongo had several very tough games, and was chased from the net several times. The Canucks also lost a poorly played game against their nemesis, the Chicago Blackhawks.
The road trip is over, the games are in the books, and the Canucks came out ahead. Further ahead than expected. And that has to be a good thing.
Ten of the Canucks' last 15 games of the season are at home, starting tonight against the Senators. It's almost impossible to say how the Canucks will fare at home, as they have no momentum at home, and no history at home for 6 weeks.
So tonight must considered Day 1. And if we recall, the start of the season did not go so well for the Canucks. I am anticipating that it will take the Canucks a couple of games to readjust to playing at home again. So their success rests squarely on the shoulders of their captain. If Roberto Luongo starts the way he did recently against Toronto, Chicago, and Colorado, then the Canucks don't have much of a chance in their next few games. However, if Luongo can establish his game early, make some tough saves right away and get into a rhythm, he will be very hard to beat, and therefore so will the Canucks.
So let's hope a return to some home cookin' is the tonic that cures Captain Lu's early game ills.
Tonight will also see the home fans finally get to fete our Olympians, including the Canucks three medallists. The Canucks sure made the home crowd proud. Let's cheer all of them on, no matter where we are.