The Vancouver Canucks are back home after another successful road trip. Though the way things have gone at Rogers Arena this season, there’s reason to wonder if that’s such a good thing.
Only four teams — Buffalo, Edmonton, Ottawa, and Dallas — have fewer home wins than the Canucks’ five, a meagre total they’ll hope to increase tonight versus the visiting Coyotes.
Not that Vancouver has played poorly in all its recent home defeats. In fact, the only real stinker in the team’s last stand at Rogers Arena was a 3-2 shootout loss to Florida on Nov. 19. The Canucks got unlucky in a 2-1 overtime loss to San Jose on Nov. 14; they outshot Dallas, 43-23, and lost by a goal on Nov. 17; it was a nine-second lapse versus the Blackhawks that cost them on Nov. 23; and they lost in overtime, 3-2 to the Kings on Nov. 25, after holding a 2-1 lead late in the third period.
But the Canucks need more than good efforts at home. One point back of the Coyotes for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference — and with the ‘Yotes holding two games in hand — they need results.
Tonight’s game looms especially large given the opponent. Of the eight teams currently above the Canucks in the conference, Phoenix — with just two wins in its last seven — may be the most vulnerable.
Another team Vancouver could possibly run down for a playoff spot? That would be Colorado. And wouldn’t you know it, the Canucks host the Avs on Sunday.