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Canucks host Ducks to begin stretch of home games
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Vancouver Canucks hope an upcoming stretch of home games will be enough to get the club into the postseason.
That span begins on Saturday night, when the Canucks welcome the Anaheim Ducks to Rogers Arena.
The Canucks have been to the postseason in each of the past five seasons, each time going in as champion of the non-defunct Northwest Division. Vancouver has had a tougher go in the new-look Pacific Division, where it sits fifth overall with 79 points.
That leaves the Canucks hoping for a wild card spot and it trails the Phoenix Coyotes by five points for the second extra playoff berth. The Coyotes, though, have played one fewer game and play host to the Minnesota Wild on Saturday.
Vancouver does have a point in four straight games. The Canucks opened a quick two-game road trip with a 5-2 win over the Wild on Wednesday, claiming a third straight victory, but dropped an overtime decision the following night to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avs got the winner 55 seconds into overtime. Matt Duchene circled around the left boards to get clear of defenders before firing a pass to the front of the net where Tyson Barrie tipped it home for the win.
Yannick Weber and Zack Kassian scored for the Canucks, while Eddie Lack turned away 25 shots in the loss.
"We out-played them in the third, but it was not good enough," said Kassian. "We got the point and had a good road trip."
The Canucks played both games on the road without leading scorer Henrik Sedin and his status for this contest is unknown because of a lower-body injury. Sedin leads Vancouver with 36 assists and 46 points.
Vancouver fell to 16-19-5 on the road with Thursday's loss and will play five straight and six of its final seven games this season at home. The Canucks are 18-11-6 at Rogers Arena on the campaign.
Lack is 0-2-1 with a 3.65 goals against average in his career versus the Ducks, who have won all three of their games versus the Canucks this season. That has pushed Anaheim's series winning streak to four straight overall and it also has won seven of the previous 10 meetings.
The Ducks have won two straight and four of their last five in Vancouver, a trend they look to continue as they chase the Pacific Division crown. Anaheim is one point back of the first-place San Jose Sharks, who visit Colorado on Saturday afternoon and have played two more games than the Ducks.
Anaheim did fail to pull into a tie with San Jose last night as it lost a 4-3 decision to the Edmonton Oilers in overtime.
Edmonton had taken two penalties earlier in the overtime, leading to a brief 5-on-3 for Anaheim, but the Ducks took a whistle and the teams wound up skating 3-on-3.
With a lot of ice to work with, Edmonton's Andrew Ference grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and skated down the middle, winding up for a big blast that ticked off the right post and in with 1:09 left on the clock.
Jonas Hiller made just 19 saves in defeat, outdueled by Edmonton's Ben Scrivens, who posted 48 stops.
"Yeah, he was pretty good tonight," said Anaheim head coach Bruce Boudreau about Scrivens. "Anytime you get over 50 shots on a goal and you lose, you've got to tip your hat a little bit to the goalie."
Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault and Patrick Maroon all scored for the Ducks, who had won two straight entering the contest and fell to 4-4-3 in their past 11.
Perreault has five goals and three assists over a seven-game point streak.
Hiller was making his third straight start and could give way tonight to backup Frederik Andersen. It helps that Andersen has won both of his previous career starts with the Canucks while allowing just two goals on 68 shots.
03/29 10:53:43 ET