A 4-2 loss at the hands of the SJ Sharks was not a huge surprise as the Canucks have had very little success playing at the HP Pavilion arena over the last few seasons. The game roster was the story to start the game as a few lineup changes allowed for Coach AV to see what he has to work with come playoff time. Sami Salo was a healthy scratch, which with his history is never a bad idea if you can afford it. The remainder of the defense was a patchwork with Edler, Alberts, O’Brien, Baumgartner, Rome and Bieksa filling out the lines. O’Brien made things interesting by getting injured, which may have been related to a previous problem, however that is another loss on the back end that is making fans of the Orca’s a bit nervous. Now it’s not as if this team has relied as heavily on the back end as in the years prior but it’s difficult not to be nervous as playoffs approach.
The game itself was interesting in that there was really nothing on the line for the team and that will happen again against Calgary on Saturday night. AV gets the chance to tinker with the lineup without anything at risk and thinking back it’s difficult to remember a time post-lockout where the Northwest Division was as separated in points as this year. With Edmonton all the way at the bottom, Minny just above, Calgary and Colorado fairly close and Vancouver well above, it’s not quite the dogfight it has been and it’s been a while since the Canucks have had the option to play a few meaningless games to prepare. The game was still entertaining, especially in the third as the Canucks broke Nabokov’s shutout and played with energy and didn’t back down when the Sharks started taking unnecessary penalties. If these two teams do meet in the playoffs, it definitely won’t be boring.
As for the goaltending, Andrew Raycroft played a pretty good game with just the 4th Sharks goal being soft. Nobody thinks for a moment that Luongo will take a back seat to Raycroft, but let’s say Luongo lays an egg for let’s say 2 or 3 games in the first round, anyone think AV will make a change? Obviously, you play your starter but can they afford to waste an entire post-season if everything else is good except for him? Don’t take this question too seriously as I have loads of faith in Lui and I’m sure he’ll be fine, however it’s good to get some other opinions so feel free to comment.
Looking forward, the Canucks play the Calgary Flames in the final game of the season for both squads. Another meaningless game in terms of standings for both teams but the two have played some outstanding hockey against each other over the years and the rivalry doesn’t just disappear overnight. Look for Luongo to get the start as a tune-up and hopefully nobody gets hurt, especially on defense.
Calgary Flames @ Vancouver Canucks – April 10, 2010 @ 7:00 PM PST – CBC (HD)
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Written by Luke Mirza