Sports Canucks

Canucks home stand chance for new beginnings 0

By Hosea Cheung, 24 hours Vancouver

Dec 3, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Chris Santorelli (25) handles the puck against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

Dec 3, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; Vancouver Canucks center Chris Santorelli (25) handles the puck against the Nashville Predators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena. (Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports)

The Vancouver Canucks may very well have a few redemption stories in the works.

The biggest could come over the next week when the team plays five straight at home — a place where they’ve had mixed results. The once-formidable confine of Rogers Arena has of late become more of a place for fans to leave in disappointment.

But with how their recent road trip ended — a pair of victories — there's optimism amongst the team. And if they can start their home stand on the right note Friday, then things could start turning around on home ice.

"Last time it was a matter (of) we had a tough first game, we should have won but lost in overtime," captain Henrik Sedin said, referring to a 2-1 loss to San Jose. "Then we just kept losing.

"If we had won the first game there, then we would have a good feeling moving on and the feeling was we should have won more games. But we're going into this one with a good feeling."

The Canucks have just three wins in their last 11 games on Vancouver ice where they are 5-5-3 overall. The improving Phoenix Coyotes come to town first — currently one point up on the Canucks with two games in hand.

Canucks assistant coach Glen Gulutzan feels his team has played better at home than on the road, despite their record.

"We just have to stay the course in our games," said the former Dallas Stars bench boss. "It's just a matter of playing at home, and if we play the same way we have we'll get those results."

When it comes to turning things around, David Booth is doing it on an individual level. The team's prodigal son has gone from dwelling in the depths of the press box to being welcomed with open arms onto the top line. He skated with the Sedins during Thursday's practice and, with Alex Burrows sidelined, will likely get another good look with the twins.

The Michigan native scored twice and added an assist on the recent road trip while also being physical with nine hits — all of sudden turning into a feel-good story.

Then there's Andrew Alberts.

Forced to remain patient waiting his turn, the time has finally come.

With defenceman Alex Edler out indefinitely with a lower body injury — seen limping in the hallways of Rogers Arena Thursday and not on the ice with the team — it meant Alberts will play for the first time since Oct. 24.

The big blueliner has only suited up three times this season as the team's defensive corp, more or less, remained healthy.

"It's been a long way back here," said the Minnesota native. "It's frustrating not playing. "You always want to contribute, and you want to do everything you can to help the team win. When I get my chances, I want to make the most of it."

As for Edler, even though he's last on the team with a minus-12, the loss will be felt.

"He's a very valuable part of the defence," fellow blueliner Dan Hamhuis said. "He plays so many different roles for us on the power play, penalty kill and a lot of big five-on-five minutes. We've got a lot of depth on our team in the backend that will be able to step in and fill those roles."

 

 

 

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