April 01 2013 03:21PM
Amidst all of the trade deadline chatter, the Canucks and Sharks will jockey for position in the Western Conference playoff picture.
There's a lot of things you have been able to complain about as a fan of the Vancouver Canucks fan this season; the boring games, the injuries piling up, the lack of "bold moves" (even if the reasoning behind not pulling the trigger on anything drastic is justified). Things as a whole have been bumpy, which has caught people off guard after two seasons of smooth sailing.
With the arrival of April, though, we're heading into a stretch that is bound to provide us with some twists, turns, and hopefully, some excitement. With the trade deadline only two days away - not to mention there being less than a month left in this abbreviated regular season - things are about to pick up. But before anything else takes place, the Canucks need to put forth a better effort than the lackluster one we witnessed in Saturday night's debacle against the Oilers.
Read on Past the Jump for More on the Game.
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM PST
Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
Radio: Team 1040
Monday night's game in San Jose will be the third and final meeting between the two teams. The first contest saw the Canucks get steamrolled right out of the gate, while the second one was determined in a skills competition as the Sharks outlasted them thanks to.. being more skilled? Or being better at flipping a coin, or something.
This game, as essentially every other game the Canucks have played for a month, means a lot. In case you haven't realized, the playoff race in the West is being quite hotly contested at the moment. The Canucks currently sit at 4th with 44 points, with the Sharks only 4 points behind them with a game in hand. It's ultimately quite unlikely that they'll be able to catch the Blackhawks for 1st, so there will be no three-peat (*sad trombone*). However, with the Ducks reeling - you can't outrun the numbers forever, folks - the 2nd seed is in play. As is the Northwest Division. I'm not a big fan of looking too much at the standings yet, because there will be so much movement in the next couple of weeks, but it's still hard not to have an eye on the situation at the very least - especially with nearly 75% of the regular season in the books!
Anyway, it's already clear that this game will be overshadowed by the fact that the trade deadline is a mere two days away. Will this be the last game that we see Roberto Luongo as a member of the Vancouver Canucks? I find it hard to believe that he'll be moved before the summer at this point, but surely anything is possible. Another name that has been brought up in trade talks has been Ryan(e!!!) Clowe, as the Sharks seem intent on moving him.
His situation is interesting because he's a UFA this summer, and it has been reported that he will only be moved if he can sign an extension with his new team. I used to be a fan of his game, but all signs have been pointing to the fact that he's not the same player anymore now that he has entered his 30's. Of course for the right price he's worth a roll of the dice, but if it comes at the cost of a 1st round pick and a prospect, there isn't a pole long enough out there that I'd touch that with.
You've probably heard by now, but on Sunday the Canucks sent down Zack Kassian and Andrew Gordon to the Chicago Wolves, while calling up Nicklas Jensen and Billy Sweatt. Jensen, a highly touted prospect, is expected to begin the game skating with the Sedins. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I hope he gets a legitimate chance, and doesn't get benched for the first mistake he makes.
That means that Alex Burrows is back down the middle, centering Higgins and Hansen. The team's third line will have Sweatt joining Schroeder and Lapierre. You're obviously wondering where Mason Raymond is on that list, and the answer is: "ostensibly injured with the world's fishiest shoulder ailment." Also Cory Schneider starts tonight in net - MAKE OF IT WHAT YOU WIll!!1!
|PP %||12.8% (30th)||18.4% (15th)|
|PK %||81.4% (14th)||86.8% (3rd)|
|FO %||47.2% (27th)||53.0% (2nd)|
|Corsi %||52.8% (5th)||50.8% (13th)|
|Fenwick Close %||53.9% (6th)||51.4% (9th)|
|Team PDO||100.8 (8th)||99.4 (21st)|