This isn’t a case of lucky seven for the Vancouver Canucks. Their home success has been earned, and the Canucks are looking to build on those good fortunes to stay in the thick of the tight Pacific Division race.
The Canucks will put their seven-game home winning streak to the test when they oppose the San Jose Sharks on Saturday.
“With a young team, there’s something to be said about playing at home and being excited to play at home,” Vancouver coach Travis Green said. “Eventually you want to have a team that plays well on the road and at home, but, man, we’ve been sharp here.”
Vancouver returned from a disappointing road trip — having won only two of five games — to claim a 3-1 home win over the Coyotes on Thursday. The Canucks have won 10 of their past 13 games overall in big part because of their offensive attack, but they played a solid defensive game against Arizona.
“We knew it was going to be that type of game,” Canucks captain Bo Horvat said. “They play a really structured game and play well defensively. I thought we did a great job sticking to our systems and not pushing too hard. We capitalized on our opportunities, and that was the difference.”
Horvat’s goal to start the comeback victory not only provided a much-needed boast for the team’s power play, which was on a 1-for-25 skid, but gives him 13 points (six goals and seven assists) in his past nine games.
“It’s the ups and downs of the season and capitalizing on your opportunities and getting the right bounces,” Horvat said.
The Sharks arrive looking to salvage something from a disappointing three-game road trip. They took a 6-3 loss in Arizona on Tuesday before falling 4-0 against the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday.
Moreover, it’s not just that the Sharks are losing right now, but how they’re losing that has frustrations coming to the fore. They have been especially lax defensively the past couple of games.
“We felt really good about ourselves and about our team and the way we were playing before this trip. Things haven’t gone our way for the first two games,” interim Sharks coach Bob Boughner told the San Jose Mercury News. “It’s time to man up. We have too many guys that are not on the same page right now in the last two games, and we’re not a good enough team to do that.”
The Sharks had high hopes this season after reaching the Western Conference final last season, but time is running out to make a run that will get them in a playoff spot. They entered Friday nine points back of the second wild-card spot. However, the first goal is to simply win their final game before the All-Star break.
“We’ve got one more game left on this road trip against a divisional opponent who’s ahead of us in the standings,” San Jose winger Evander Kane said. “It’s an opportunity to get back some of the ground we’ve lost in these last two games. We’ve got to take that opportunity and run with it. We’ve got to be a lot better than we were (Thursday).”
–Field Level Media