The Canucks have earned their first Presidents’ Trophy and will try to improve to 5-0 against the league-worst Oilers this season when the teams meet at Rogers Arena.
Vancouver (52-17-9) clinched the NHL’s best regular-season record Thursday with its fifth straight victory, 3-1 over Los Angeles. Although the Canucks were happy, they know the focus is on winning the franchise’s first Stanley Cup.
“It’s nice but we want another first to come in a few months,” goalie Roberto Luongo(notes) said. “That’s the big one we’re all keeping our eyes on obviously and, when it’s all said and done, I think we’ll be able to enjoy this a little more.”
The Canucks have fallen to Chicago in the Western Conference semifinals each of the previous two seasons. They went 1-5 at home against the Blackhawks in those series.
Vancouver is 26-8-5 this season at home, where Luongo has posted a 1.97 goals-against average in 31 starts.
“Obviously, I’ve said that every year we’ve gotten into the playoffs when you have home-ice, you say it’s good. When you don’t, you say it’s not that big of a deal,” coach Alain Vigneault said. “For us to have home-ice in front of our fans the way we can play in this building should be an added bonus for us.”
Individual honors are all that Vancouver has left to play for. Henrik Sedin(notes) won his first Art Ross Trophy with 112 points last season. Daniel Sedin(notes) is in good position to earn the award this season with 100 points, eight more than second-place Martin St. Louis(notes) of Tampa Bay and nine more than Henrik.
Daniel Sedin has 21 points during the Canucks’ 12-1-0 surge while Henrik has 17. The brothers have combined for 13 points against Edmonton (23-43-11) this season.
The Oilers have lost 11 straight for their worst skid since a 13-game slide Dec. 31, 2009-Jan. 30, 2010. They are out of the playoffs for the fifth straight season, going 0-8-3 since a 5-1 win at Colorado on March 5.
“You can only imagine what this would look like if we had some other players here,” coach Tom Renney said after a 4-2 loss at Minnesota on Thursday. “We don’t. We’re not going to dwell on it. This is it, and that’s that.”
The Canucks have outscored the Oilers 15-7 this season.
Luongo is 6-1-0 with a 1.86 GAA in his last seven starts versus Edmonton, including two wins this season. Backup Cory Schneider(notes) has won the other two meetings, allowing three goals, and is 6-0-0 with a 1.65 GAA in his last six starts overall.
Edmonton has been outscored 22-7 during a five-game skid at Vancouver, allowing nine power-play goals in 22 chances.