Canucks still searching for home success 0
Dec 3, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo (1) and defenseman Ryan Stanton (18) try to clear the puck away from Nashville Predators player Craig Smith (15) during the third period at Bridgestone Arena. (The Canucks beat the Predators 3-1. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)
"The boys are back in town" usually implies a sense of swagger.
But while you can argue that may be the case for the Vancouver Canucks, who are returning home after a fruitful 3-1 road trip, it's hard to deny that a sense of skepticism still lingers amongst the fan base.
The team had Wednesday off before they host the Phoenix Coyotes on Friday — which will be the first test to see if they can finally translate their road success into home victories.
While they have managed to rack up 10 wins away from Vancouver this season — which is the second most on the road overall behind the Chicago Blackhawks — they can't seem to get the job done at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks' most recent homestand saw them come away with the full two points in just one of the six games. This time, they'll play five straight at Rogers Arena, and they aren't easy tilts either.
Three of the five upcoming visitors currently sit higher than Vancouver in the standings, highlighted by the Boston Bruins, who will close out the home stretch on Dec. 14.
Then there's also the Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche, both teams the Canucks are chasing in the Western Conference standings. Rounding out the five are the Carolina Hurricanes, who Vancouver beat this past Sunday, and the lowly Edmonton Oilers.
If Vancouver continues to play the way they have in their past two though — led by the monstrous performances of Ryan Kesler — putting together a winning home record is certainly attainable.
"Three of four on the road, it set us up good for going home," Kesler told Sportsnet after the game. "Saying that, we can't let off the gas pedal. The first game at home is always tough and we got to come out there, have a good first and go from there."
The Canucks inked prospect Cole Cassels to an entry-level deal Wednesday.
Drafted 85th overall by Vancouver in the 2013 NHL draft, the centre is currently fourth in scoring in the OHL with 12 goals and 16 assists through 24 games.
The 6-foot Columbus, OH, native — and the son of former Canuck Andrew Cassels — also has 43 penalty minutes.