Sunday, March 07, 2004

Canucks should be smelling blood tonight!

No I'm not referring to potential fisticuffs between Steve Moore and whichever Canuck can reach him first, though that too may pass. But, a damaged, shell shocked, less than confident Colorado Avalanche team is dropping into GM Place, for what could be THE pivotal game for the Canucks this season. With the Avs stumbling their way to a loss against Calgary on Sunday afternoon, they are ripe for a pounding in the friendly confines of GM Place. Colorado arrives in Vancouver for the final regular season game between the two teams of the year, and there are quite a few issues left to settle. Only one point separates the Avs and the Canucks now, something that seemed unattainable three weeks ago, is suddenly within the grasp of Vancouver, first place in their Division, and to be able to take it from the Avs should be more than enough incentive for a big game.

The history between these two teams the last couple of months has not been one of friendly competition. Well documented over the last few weeks has been the hit by Moore on Canuck's captain Marcus Naslund, which the Cancuks' vowed would be avenged, something that did not happen in the subsequent re-match. This will be the second game between the two since the hit that knocked Naslund out of the line up for ten days. Should the Canucks be able to get a large enough lead, or fall behind by a sizeable margin, it may be that judgment day will arrive for Moore. Careful to not give the league office any cause for censure, this match up has not had the same play as the first game after the hit. Flying low under the radar both teams are playing down their past outbursts.

It will be interesting to see which players on both teams get sat out for Monday's game. If Colorado sits Moore out, or the Canucks leave Brookbank or May up in the press box for the night, then it would be safe to assume not much will come of things. Should all the main suspects dress, then possibly a late night is in store for the GM Place workforce.

At the end of the night it's the two points and the message that can be sent that should dictate how the night goes. The Canucks have a perfect chance to reclaim first place in the division and keep the scent of Detroit for first overall in the conference. With the Avs in apparent disarray at the moment, there should be no better time to fill the net, set the pace and let the Avs know that the road to the Cup runs through GM Place.

Vancouver fans have had this game circled on their calendars since that mid February night, expect a loud, raucous night at GM Place. Probably the biggest game of the year so far, it should be everything the fans expect and more.

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