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Mar 31, 2024 8:18 am

Canucks aim to stop slide in encounter vs. Ducks

Vancouver Canucks

The Vancouver Canucks can’t take anything for granted the rest of the regular season. Not even against teams at the bottom of the standings.

The Canucks have nine games remaining before the postseason starts, beginning with a Sunday afternoon matchup against the visiting Anaheim Ducks.

Vancouver (45-20-8, 98 points) leads the Pacific Division by four points over the Edmonton Oilers, who beat the visiting Ducks 6-1 on Saturday afternoon.

The Canucks need a bounce-back game after dropping their past two games, 3-2 against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday and 3-1 to the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

“This is the kind of hockey it’s probably going to be the rest of the way, the kind of hockey it is around the league right now,” Canucks goalie Casey DeSmith said. “Everyone’s just trying to buckle down and play the right way, do the right things.”

Vancouver still hopes to find an answer for its power-play woes.

The Canucks went 0-for-3 in their most recent loss and are 2-for-21 in the past seven games (3-3-1).

“I don’t think we’re getting to the inside enough,” Canucks forward J.T. Miller said. “For myself, I’m not really creating or driving play right now for me, so I need to be better. As a leader of the team, I hold myself to a higher standard than that. I feel like I’m one and done a lot.”

Vancouver received a boost on Thursday when forward Dakota Joshua returned after missing 18 games with a hand injury. He has a career-high 13 goals and 13 assists this season.

“It was nice to get out there and battle again,” he said. “Just be with the guys and go through the ups and downs of the game.”

Canucks center Elias Lindholm missed a second straight game with an undisclosed injury, however.

“I’m not really concerned. I think it’s just something a little nagging, that’s getting better every day,” Canucks coach Rick Tocchet said. “That’s the way you got to look at it.”

The Ducks (24-46-4, 52 points) have lost four in a row (0-3-1) and 11 of 12 (1-10-1) after their loss to the Oilers on Saturday.

One of the goal scorers for the Oilers on Saturday was Adam Henrique, who was traded from Anaheim to Edmonton on March 6 along with Sam Carrick, who also notched an assist against his former team.

On the plus side, Anaheim cut down on its penalties after committing 12 in a 4-2 loss at the Seattle Kraken on Thursday that led to 10 power-play opportunities.

The Ducks only committed three penalties against the Oilers, who went 1-for-3 on the power play.

Alex Killorn scored the lone goal for Anaheim while on a power play. He’s been the hottest player for the Ducks over the past month, scoring eight of his 15 goals in the past 16 games.

Lukas Dostal is expected to start in goal for Anaheim after John Gibson allowed six goals on 37 shots against the Oilers.

Dostal started against the Canucks on March 3 and allowed two goals on 31 shots in a 2-1 loss.

–Field Level Media

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