Playoff hopes faded, Canucks welcome Selanne, Anaheim Ducks to Vancouver
The Anaheim Ducks are hunting for the franchise's first-ever Presidents' Trophy – and a season sweep of the once league-best Canucks – when they visit Vancouver on Monday.
Led by captain Ryan Getzlaf (85 points) and Corey Perry (42 goals) the Ducks have 108 points, three back of West-leading St. Louis and five back of Boston for first overall in the NHL.
The Canucks will be essentially eliminated from Western playoff contention either with a loss tonight or with a win by Dallas in one of the Stars' final four games.
"We know the chances are slim, but it gives you that little bit of motivation to come prepared and, especially with four games left, that you've gotta give it your best tonight, even though we're playing one of the best teams in the league," said David Booth. "I think it brings excitement into the game."
Monday's tilt will also be the Finnish Flash's final game in Vancouver, as 43-year-old Teemu Selanne is expected to retire at season's end after over two decades in The Show.
"I think I have enjoyed it more, when I know that it's gonna be my last time," Selanne said on Monday. "You try to take everything in and obviously you see things a little different... Obviously, it has been unbelievable years in this league and I'm very thankful that I've been able to play for so many years."
Selanne has registered 1,455 points in 1,448 career NHL games. In his rookie year with Winnipeg in 1993, he had 76 goals and 132 points – two totals he hasn't eclipsed since.
Vancouver has gone 5-4-1 in its last 10 games, but the Canucks have been dominated – thoroughly – by the Ducks this season. Anaheim is 4-0-0 against Vancouver and has outshot the Orcas 21-6 through that stretch, including an embarrassing 9-1 win over Eddie Lack and Joacim Eriksson and January 15.
The Canucks are coming off a 2-1 win over one of the Pacific Division's other top teams, the Los Angeles Kings, on Saturday night.
Anaheim lost to the Edmonton Oilers, 4-2, on Sunday.
In addition to their four wins over Vancouver this season, Anaheim has won five straight against the Canucks dating back to April 25, 2013.
Vancouver's playoff hopes were kept alive on Sunday night, when Roberto Luongo's Florida Panthers beat Dallas 3-2 in Sunrise.
"We still have to focus on what we gotta do, we gotta win our games," said Canucks' winger Alex Burrows. "It starts tonight against a very good team, so we gotta make sure we're ready and play our best, and see where we're at after the game."
Eddie Lack will make his 19th straight start for the Canucks tonight. He'll play opposite John Gibson, who is making his NHL debut for Anaheim tonight.