Magic number 9: nine games left until we're free to go outside and play!
While we're at it, let's take a look at the bottom three clubs:
League worse goal differential? Check. League worst last ten game record? Check. League worst home record? Check. If you'd like a deeper dive at their bad numbers, PITB has you covered. Vancouver's very thorough tank job and run towards a top three pick has created the only non-huge-Russian-defenseman excitement left surrounding this team.
Winners of three straight Toronto play out the stretch against the Bruins, Lightning, Panthers (x2), Sabres, Red Wings, Blue Jackets, Flyers and the Devils. So the big thing against #teamtank is that Edmonton is four games up and their final four are against the Kings, Ducks, Flames and Vancouver. Here's hoping one of the California teams takes their foot off the gas against the Oilers and not the Canucks.
Ugh...such strange bedfellows.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The Canucks decided to play 45 strong minutes last night against the Predators. Forget the outcome, they looked capable against a playoff-bound team. They'll get the same exact test against the Blues.
St. Louis returns home for the first time in a couple weeks, finishing up their most recent road trip with a string of shutouts against Vancouver (haha) and San Jose. So it's safe to say Brian Elliott will get the start to try and toss another potential donut at the Canucks. The Blues will be down Jay Bouwmeester (Remember him? Me neither) and have recalled Petteri Lindbohm from the Chicago Wolves (Remember them? Me neither).
Big picture: two points for the Blues will lock their playoff spot down and tie them with Dallas at the top of the Western Conference. That's kind of a big deal.
Sorry Dallas. Vancouver will do their best to protect your slim lead but thems the breaks.
Human Guinea Pig Formations
Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jannik Hansen
Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen
Alexandre Burrows - Linden Vey - Emerson Etem
Chris Higgins - Brendan Gaunce - Derek Dorsett
Ben Hutton - Nikita Tryamkin
Dan Hamhuis - Yannick Weber
Matt Bartkowski - Andrey Pedan
Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko
Robby Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer
Patrik Berglund - David Backes - Dmitrij Jaskin
Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves
Joel Edmundson - Alex Pietrangelo
Petteri Lindbohm - Kevin Shattenkirk
Carl Gunnarsson - Colton Parayko
In his last start - the 75th of his career - Jacob Markstrom sets career highs in both shots faced (48) and saves made (47) in a single game. It reminded me of Cory Schneider's trial by fire game against Dallas in 2009 (I remember creating the Blingee too).
So how well will Markstrom rebound tonight? You could also ask if the defense would be so kind as to not let the floodgates open on their netminder, but ask stupid questions?
I'm generally curious who wins the Canucks team awards this season. So go vote. If Hutton isn't on your ballot somewhere, may God have mercy on your wretched soul.
That's not fair Star Lord. We care. Last night was basically perfect: get some goals, show some spine and let the better team take the points.
Markstrom plays out of his mind again, but the Blues punch their ticket with a 3-1 win. And we mercifully get a day off before having to entertain the cheery thought of rolling into the United Center on Sunday.