The rolling Vancouver Canucks will try to boost their chances at winning a second straight Presidents' Trophy tonight, as they shoot for an eighth consecutive win in a road test against the Calgary Flames.
The Canucks, who locked up the Northwest Division title weeks ago, have won a season-high seven straight contests and with 109 points on the season, they are tied with the New York Rangers for the NHL lead. The Rangers play tonight in Pittsburgh, and like Vancouver, also has two games left in the regular season. New York would win the tie-breaker against the Canucks due to a greater number of non-shootout victories.
Vancouver could also move closer to securing the top seed in the West tonight. The Canucks are two points ahead of St. Louis for the conference's No. 1 spot with two games left for each club. The Blues are off tonight ahead of Friday's matchup with Phoenix.
The Canucks posted their seventh consecutive win Tuesday against the visiting Anaheim Ducks and Vancouver can win eight in a row tonight for the first time since Dec. 23-Jan. 7 of last season.
Alexandre Burrows, Alexander Edler and Maxim Lapierre all scored in Tuesday's 5-4 shootout win over the Ducks. Burrows tallied twice in regulation while Lapierre and Chris Higgins also lit the lamp for Vancouver.
Dan Hamhuis and Henrik Sedin each registered two assists for the Canucks, while Roberto Luongo allowed four goals on 15 shots before being pulled in favor of Cory Schneider in the second period. Schneider stopped all nine shots he saw.
"We made a few mistakes defensively where they got a lot of chances in tight and we can't blame Lou (Luongo) for either one of those. It's on us players to be there for him and we didn't do a good job," Sedin said of his team's defensive effort in front of Luongo.
Schneider is expected to get the start tonight for Vancouver.
Canucks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has missed the last four games with body soreness and is questionable for tonight. Forward Daniel Sedin is still out indefinitely with a concussion and will miss the final two games of the regular season.
Vancouver, which is 24-11-5 as the guest this year, will close its regular season Saturday against Edmonton.
Calgary, which will miss out on the postseason for a third straight season this spring, is playing its second straight game against the Canucks after losing in overtime in Vancouver on Saturday. Andrew Ebbett scored on a deflection with 62 seconds remaining in OT to lift the Canucks to the 3-2 decision.
Olli Jokinen and Mike Cammalleri scored for the Flames, who were eliminated from playoff contention after losing three in a row and eight of nine. Henrik Karlsson gave up three goals on 34 shots.
"We battled hard tonight. We lost a game that could have went both ways, but in a year like this it doesn't seem like it's going our way," Cammalleri said.
Calgary is 21-12-6 as the host this year and is playing its final two games of 2011-12 at the Saddledome. The Flames will complete their schedule Saturday against Anaheim.
Vancouver has taken six of eight and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall with the Flames. The Canucks had won five straight in Calgary before the Flames posted a shootout victory at the Saddledome on Feb. 11.