(VIDEO) Canucks needs another win against Tavares-less Islanders
It starts tonight... it starts every night.
Because the Vancouver Canucks are in a do-or-die mode and, quite honestly, they're just barely surviving. But you have to fight for today and for tomorrow. You can't go quietly into the night – you have to go kicking and screaming.
For a team that had lost four in a row, they needed to win one on Saturday. They did, beating Calgary 2-1 in a high-intensity, obviously low-scoring affair. And they fulfilled, for the moment, the diagnosis Vancouver defenceman Kevin Bieksa gave last week: "You just win a game."
"We were hungrier than them, and we're going to have to be the same way tonight," Bieksa said on Monday morning to reporters at Rogers Arena.
The Canucks take on the New York Islanders tonight, 7 p.m. PST from Rogers Arena.
The Islanders own a 24-33-9 record and 14th place in the Eastern Conference. The Canucks are stuck outside the West's top eight with 68 points, four points back of the Dallas Stars for the conference's final playoff position.
Dallas has a two-game advantage over the Canucks and beat Vancouver 6-1 last Thursday night.
"Another must win tonight. It's going to be must wins for a while, but this is an important one for us," Bieksa said today. "Another win tonight and we kind of get back into the mix there.
"We need to get wins to bridge the gap a little bit (between the Canucks and Dallas)."
While the win kept the Canucks alive, it didn't solve the problems that have plagued them in a disastrous 2014.
Henrik Sedin's goal-less drought stands strong at 23 games, with the captain's last marker coming on December 14 against Boston – a game the Canucks won 6-2 on home ice.
Alex Burrows has yet to score this season, now into his 34th game. Burrows has five assists this year and has been hit with injuries twice, missing a total of 32 games so far.
"It doesn't matter who scores," Canucks center Ryan Kesler said on Monday. "Right now, we just want to win games and... obviously, myself and Hank and whoever else, we want to help contribute but that's not only scoring a goal – that's back-checking at the right time, making the right decision and we all just want to contribute and help the team win."
Kesler leads the team with 21 goals this season, followed by Chris Higgins with 16 and Daniel Sedin with 13.
So it hasn't been an offensive year for the Orcas. And over the weekend, it was depth players like Tom Sestito, Shawn Matthias, and Yannick Weber who made the difference – even on the scoresheet.
But win or lose, shutout or shootout, it was nice to see a couple Canucks this excited to score on Saturday: