Canucks need ‘fresh mentality’: Luongo
Vancouver Canucks goalie Roberto Luongo says the team needs a new mindset heading into the final part of the NHL season. (REUTERS)
Roberto Luongo and Dan Hamhuis have their gold. Daniel Sedin and Alex Edler have their silver.
But the Vancouver Canucks have a seven-game losing streak to end.
With Wednesday's tilt at home marking exactly one month since the team last won a game, Olympic medals are already a thing of the past. Well, sort of.
"I brought (the medal) to the rink today and showed all our Canadian guys," Hamhuis said. "It's good to be back.
"These last 22 games are important for us. We didn't put ourselves in good position before the break … and we have to get ourselves into the playoffs."
Adds fellow gold medallist Luongo, who is expected to sit while Eddie Lack gets the start Wednesday: "I haven't given up a goal in two and a half weeks so feeling pretty good.
"We know what's at stake right now. We dug ourselves a bit of a hole and we got to come with a fresh mentality."
In town are the St. Louis Blues, winners of seven of their last 10 games prior to the two-week break. They sit second in the Western Conference — three points back of leaders Anaheim Ducks — but have lost both meetings so far this year with the Canucks.
"They're physical games," forward Alex Burrows said of facing St. Louis. "It's the kind of games where there isn't a lot of room."
The challenge with stopping the Blues, however, doesn't come down to one or two stars. This is a team with plenty of firepower spread throughout their lineup, not boasting any players among the top 30 in point-getters, but sit second overall in goals per game. They have seven players with double digits in goals and five players — led by Alex Steen — with more points than the Canucks' scoring leaders in Henrik and Daniel Sedin.
"I don't see any weaknesses on their team, that's why they are up there in the standings," Daniel said. "They play solid defensively and make plays when they can make plays. It's a tough team to play."
It's more the opposite for Vancouver. They're struggling to find the back of the net, having scored just four goals in their last four games. In their last seven losses, only four forwards have tallies, combining for seven of the team's 11 goals. And for Daniel specifically, he has not scored in 19 games but claims the break — and Team Sweden's relatively successful showing in Sochi — has helped.
"I felt really good in the tournament," he said. "It was fun … so I only take out positives from it. (This stretch run) is going to be playoff hockey for us and I'm looking forward to it."
The good news is that they could be getting some injured bodies back. Kevin Bieksa (foot) and Burrows (hand) both skated with the team and are "hopeful" to play versus the Blues. Meanwhile, Ryan Kesler underwent an MRI on his hand while Henrik Sedin is expected back in town Wednesday morning from Sweden after dealing with personal issues.
Handing out tickets
The Heritage Classic game between the Canucks and the Ottawa Senators is fast approaching. It goes this Sunday at BC Place, and it seems everyone and their mother have some form of online giveaway for free tickets. Even Jason Garrison has a pair of stubs to hand out, as the Canucks defenceman decided to do a best beard — real or fake — contest for it through Twitter.
Will the Canucks make the playoffs?