Sports Hockey

Canucks schedule not as easy as it looks 0

BOB MACKIN, 24 HOURS

When the Phoenix Coyotes nixed the Canucks on Saturday, it threw a monkeywrench into the crystal ball gazing by prognosticators.

So much for the schedule of relatively easy opponents. The Canucks will have to work hard to stay in the Western conference's top eight, let alone to secure home ice advantage.

Seven of the final 11 games are on the road. Twice the Canucks play on consecutive nights.

The Canucks' two March regulation losses were against two of the bottom three teams in the Western conference. Three of their last 11 games are against the last-place Colorado Avalanche, who are playing for the John Tavares sweepstakes.

The rest of the games, save for a meeting with the Los Angeles Kings, are against teams clamouring for a playoff spot (St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild and Edmonton Oilers) or endeavouring to remain ahead of the Canucks (Chicago Blackhawks and Calgary Flames).


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