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Canucks in crisis mode heading into tonight's rematch with Sabres

VANCOUVER -- The Sabres did not skate today at Rogers Arena and coach Dan Bylsma will meet the media at 4:30 PT/7:30 ET with lineup updates. The Vancouver Canucks, meanwhile, are in complete crisis mode as Buffalo hits town for tonight's game, a 10 p.m ET start.

The numbers are very ugly of late for Vancouver: The Canucks are 0-3-2 in their last five games, 2-7-3 in their last 12 and 3-9-4 in their last 16. Their 9-11-8 overall record leaves them tied with Toronto for the fewest wins in the NHL.

"You go through these tough times throughout your career, throughout games and parts of season," veteran winger Daniel Sedin said today. "You have to find a way to work through them. It's a lot easier if you try to come to the rink and have fun."

"Losing is something that wears out on you and takes a little bit of the fun out of coming to the rink," said coach Willie Desjardins. "It starts to become more like work. You have to grind through it. The only way to do it is to get a few wins and that takes care of itself. We need to get our game back."

The Canucks have scored just three goals in their last four games. Their latest game was a complete stinker, a 4-0 loss here Saturday against Boston when the Bruins were on a back-to-back -- just as the Sabres are tonight.

"Right now maybe we're squeezing  the stick too tight and it's tough to play that way," Sedin said. "Tonight it's about coming to the rink with a lot of energy. It's a game. You can't look at it as pressure."

Even at age 35, the Sedins continue to drive the way for the Canucks. Daniel Sedin is leading them in scoring with 29 points (12-17) while Henrik Sedin is at 8-18-26. No other Canuck is over 20 points.

Old friend Ryan Miller will be in goal for the Canucks tonight and he's been slumping much like his team. Miller is just 2-7-2 in his last 11 starts with a 2.96 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. He was 4-2-4, .923, 2.16 in October.

The Canucks have lost an NHL-high eight games in overtime this year and Miller has been burned in six of those games. His homecoming Nov. 7 in First Niagara Center was spoiled just before regulation ended as Rasmus Ristolainen's goal with 17 seconds left gave the Sabres a 3-2 win.

"They have some young players who can really skate hard," Sedin said. "Their 'D' are big and strong and their goalies have played pretty well. It's a tough matchup but it's about how we play. Each line will have to play the right way, get pucks deep. It's the only way we can work through this."

As part of the 20th anniversary of their home rink, the Canucks will be honoring their "West Coast Express" line that began as a unit in 2002. Markus Naslund, Todd Bertuzzi and Brendan Morrison all spoke to the team today.

"The neat thing is every one of them tried to say something that would help our team right now," Desjardins said. "Their message was they all knew exactly where we were at as a team and had all gone through slumps before. ... Everyone tried to say, 'Hey, things will work out and you've got to enjoy yourselves coming to the rink' so it was nice they cared about the current team."

 

 

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