Waiting to see: Canucks tickets aren’t such a hot commodity

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The Vancouver Canucks open their first-round playoff series tonight at Rogers Arena versus the San Jose Sharks, but postseason excitement isn’t exactly sweeping the city.

With reports of half-price tickets and no shortage of supply on the secondary market, it appears Vancouver hockey fans are taking a wait-and-see approach with the 2013 version of the Canucks.

Among the potential explanations:

—- Playoff fatigue. Unlike, say, Toronto, Vancouver has hosted plenty of postseason games the past few seasons.

—- Tickets aren’t cheap. Better to save up for later rounds, if the Canucks get that far. Speaking of which…

—- Lowered expectations. Confidence in the team was shaken after the loss to the Bruins in the 2011 Stanley Cup finals, and was shaken more after last year’s first-round defeat to the Kings. In 2013, after back-to-back Presidents’ Trophy wins, the Canucks finished eighth overall in the standings.

—- A less entertaining product. Even the Canucks admit they don’t play the same up-tempo brand of hockey anymore.

—- The opponent. The Canucks and Sharks met in the 2011 Western Conference finals, but it wasn’t a particularly memorable series, and there’s not the rivalry with San Jose as there is with a team like Chicago.

—- Lingering resentment over the lockout.

Having said all that, the Canucks are still a major topic of conversation in town. If the result is a good one tonight for the home side, it won’t take long for playoff fever to strike again.

Related: Canucks-Sharks series preview

Auston Matthews’ 33rd goal includes a dash of comedy (Video)

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This wouldn’t have been worth a chuckle if not for the correction. (Well, maybe a chuckle at Auston Matthews‘ expense.)

On the 33rd goal of his brilliant rookie season, Auston Matthews made it 2-0 for Toronto on the power play. Crusty “act like you’ve been there” types might grumble that he actually celebrated before a goal really happened, only to tap it in for real the second time around. The rest of us, again, get a mild chuckle.

William Nylander‘s pass was nothing to laugh at, however. That one just gets a big thumbs up.

Hnnngmgghh indeed.

That goal could end up being key as the Blue Jackets quickly scored to start the second period, shrinking Toronto’s lead to 2-1 on Wednesday.

Video: Leafs’ Carrick delivers thunderous hit on Blue Jackets’ Anderson

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Both the Columbus Blue Jackets and Toronto Maple Leafs have motivation to win their Wednesday game, but the Maple Leafs need it more.

So far, it shows, too.

The Maple Leafs have raced off to a 2-0 lead, with Auston Matthews scoring his 33rd goal of the season. If generating such offense didn’t highlight the urgency, Connor Carrick‘s huge hit on Josh Anderson makes a compelling argument. Witness that big impact in the video above.

There was also another high-impact moment when Nick Foligno went crashing into the boards:

Ouch, Blues consider Paul Stastny out week-to-week

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The St. Louis Blues announced that Paul Stastny is out week-to-week with a lower-body injury.

Stastny was limited to less than four minutes of ice time during last night’s 4-2 win against the Colorado Avalanche. Initially, head coach Mike Yeo indicated that the issue wasn’t serious.

There are only about three weeks left in the regular season, so it’s tough to tell if “week-to-week” would mean that the Blues will be without Stastny for any playoff time.

With Stastny out for an expended period of time and other injuries affecting Blues forwards, it sounds like Nail Yakupov gets another chance to prove himself:

Stastny generated 18 goals and 40 points in 66 games so far this season. He has played more of a defensive role this season (46.2 offensive zone start percentage after being closer to 50 earlier in his Blues days) and has been impressive in the dot, winning 53.8 of his faceoffs.

WATCH LIVE: Islanders at Rangers – Wednesday Night Rivalry

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A night after a feisty matcuhup with the Devils, the Rangers host an even bigger rival in the Islanders at Madison Square Garden for Wednesday Night Rivalry on NBCSN.

As nasty as Tuesday’s contest got at times, this one means more.

While the Rangers seem pretty safely seated as the East’s first wild card, the Islanders stand three points behind the Maple Leafs for the final spot in the conference. They’ve seen other bubble teams stumble, so this is their chance to close in on Toronto in what might be a shrinking field of contenders.

Spiting the Islanders might just give the Rangers a little extra life on back-to-back nights … especially since their fans would probably let them have it if they sleepwalk through this one.

It should be a fun, physical and dramatic one on NBCSN. You can also watch online and via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.