Canucks’ flick­er­ing play­off hopes need help dur­ing their five-day break

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JOSHUA CLIP­PER­TON

All the Van­cou­ver Canucks can do this week is wait and hope.

The club be­gan its NHL-man­dated five-day break Mon­day af­ter a hec­tic stretch that saw Van­cou­ver con­clude a six-game road trip, get 24 hours off and then play back-to-back nights at home.

Sit­ting four points adrift of the Cal­gary Flames for the sec­ond wild-card spot in the Western Con­fer­ence, and with most of the other teams around them in the play­off chase also in ac­tion, the Canucks will be have a keen eye on the out-of-town score­board.

“We’ve put our­selves in a spot where we need other teams to lose,” said Van­cou­ver cap­tain Hen­rik Sedin.

The Canucks ground out a 2-1 over­time vic­tory Satur­day against Cal­gary, but dropped a 3-2 de­ci­sion to Philadel­phia on Sun­day where they found them­selves down 3-0 early in the sec­ond pe­riod.

With 58 points through 60 games, Van­cou­ver will prob­a­bly need some­where in the neigh­bour­hood of 30 points from its fi­nal 22 con­tests to have any chance of mak­ing the post-sea­son.

For a team that, apart from one six-game win streak, has only won four in a row once this sea­son — and that in­cluded a shootout tri­umph and two over­time vic­to­ries to open the sched­ule — it seems like a tall or­der.

“You look at the last road trip where we come away from that be­ing 2-4 and it feels like we should have a cou­ple more points,” Sedin said Sun­day night. “Great teams, they put six, seven, eight wins to­gether. We’ve had a tough time do­ing that, but say­ing that we’re still in the race.

“We’re get­ting a few days off then we’re back at it. Two, three wins and we’re right there. That’s the way we’ve got to look at it.”

Part of the rea­son for Van­cou­ver’s in­abil­ity to string to­gether vic­to­ries has been its putrid 28th-ranked power play and al­most-as-bad 24th- ranked penalty kill.

The Canucks had just two shots in four power plays against the Fly­ers and also gave up two goals while short­handed. All told, the team is 0 for 12 with the man ad­van­tage over its last four games and has sur­ren­dered four power-play goals against in its last three out­ings.

“We haven’t quit yet,” said goalie Ryan Miller. “We just have to keep build­ing good games.”

Van­cou­ver will re­turn to prac­tice on Fri­day be­fore host­ing a Satur­day night tilt against San Jose.

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