The Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver Canucks both just clinched their
respective divisions. There’s a lot of work ahead for both clubs if
they’re going to meet in the second round of the Western Conference
Anaheim will try to close out its road schedule with a third
straight victory on Thursday night when the Cory Schneider-less
Canucks go for a ninth consecutive victory at Rogers Arena.
After missing the playoffs last season, the Ducks (29-11-6)
clinched the Pacific with Monday’s 3-0 victory at Edmonton. The
Ducks’ only previous division title came in 2007 when they won
their lone Stanley Cup title.
Anaheim defeated the Canucks in the conference semifinals that
year in the only playoff series between these clubs.
“We still have to keep working hard, but the last two games have
been a step in the right direction for us,” rookie goaltender
Viktor Fasth said Monday after the Ducks swept two in a row
visiting the Oilers following four straight defeats. “I think we
were even better in this game than we were the night before. We
still have things to work on before the playoffs, though.”
The Ducks, five points ahead of Vancouver (26-13-7), will open
the postseason as the No. 2 seed behind Chicago.
The Canucks locked up the third seed and their fifth consecutive
Northwest Division title with Monday’s 3-1 victory over the
“It’s always nice to beat the best team in the NHL, but our
second goal every year after making the playoffs is to clinch the
division title,” said Schneider, who finished with 24 saves. “It
speaks to the success this team has had in the past five, six years
of winning titles and stuff like this.
“We’ll enjoy this for about 10 minutes and then worry about the
(Anaheim) Ducks coming to town (Thursday).”
The Ducks, though, won’t have to worry about Schneider, who has
been ruled out of this game with an undisclosed injury. The Canucks
called up Joe Cannata from AHL Chicago on Wednesday, meaning
Roberto Luongo will get the nod from coach Alain Vigneault for the
first time in 10 days.
Luongo, who has won his last two starts, has faced the Ducks
once this season, stopping 10 of 12 shots in relief of Schneider in
a 7-3 season-opening home loss on Jan. 19.
The Canucks, who evened the season series six days later with a
5-0 victory in Anaheim, will try to end the Ducks’ five-game point
streak in Vancouver. The Canucks’ current run at Rogers Arena is
their best since their franchise-record 11-game home winning streak
ended with a 6-5 shootout loss to Anaheim on April 2, 2009.
The Ducks would like nothing more than to snap another streak in
Vancouver before hosting Phoenix on Saturday in their
“First and foremost we needed to get back to our game and
playing well,” defenseman Francois Beauchemin said. “We needed to
get some confidence and score some goals.”
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, tied for the team
lead with 15 goals, have one total in the two games against
Vancouver, while Canucks leading scorers Henrik and Daniel Sedin
have combined for two goals and five assists in those matchups.