April 01 2010 10:01AM
Kids all around Los Angeles are so stoked to watch the Canucks and Kings play tonight.
The Vancouver Canucks leave for sunny California as they place their first half of back-to-back games in SoCal tonight, as they take on the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center. Neither team has been a powerhouse of late, so the Canucks and Kings will both be looking to get their playoff game faces on as the postseason approaches quickly.
If regular season match-ups are a pre-cursor to the playoffs, then the Canucks would love to face the Kings in the first round. Vancouver has dominated Los Angeles this year, and as provided the perfect antidote to the Kings scoring prowess. So far this year, the Canucks are a perfect 3-0-0 against the Kings this year, and have held Los Angeles to a single goal in each of those three games. Roberto Luongo looked sharp, in not stellar, in their previous meetings. Although the Canucks haven't exactly lit it up against the Kings, their top two lines have been, well, their top two lines.
But... the last time the Canucks and Kings played was December 14th. Yes, that's three and a half months ago. Yeah, so there's been Christmas, New Year's, and a Winter Olympics since they last met. A lot has changed, so you can't just expect a similar result as the previous three.
Although the Canucks have all but locked up 3rd place in the Western Conference, they do still have kinks to work out and things to improve as they press for the playoffs. Most importantly, they need to get their road game back on track. They've lost three straight away from GM Place, and their last road win was comeback victory in Denver against the Avalance on March 9th. SO the Canucks can do themselves a big favour by knocking out another victory against the Kings.
They should also be buoyed soon by the returns of both Mikael Samuelsson (injury) and Pavol Demitra (personal). Both have huge playoff experience so their return to the lineup will be welcome. Neither is expected to play against LA or Anaheim, but I'm sure the Canucks are still anxious to get them both back on the ice.
As for tonight, the Canucks strategy should be three simple words. Study the tape. Their first three games were absolutely clinical victories. Do it again, Canucks. Do it again.
And do it for one simple reason. If you win, you're in. A win tonight guarantee the Canucks will see the playoffs. DO IT!