According to head coach Alain Vigneault, there's only one way to play whether the team's at home or on the road and that's the "right way"; however, through the first two months of the season the numbers show the Canucks are significantly better on home ice.
Vancouver failed to win on the road in October, going 0-3-1 in four games and through their first 11 away from Rogers Arena (4-5-2) the Canucks have just 10 of a possible 22 points.
Meanwhile Vancouver is 8-2-1 at home.
"We haven't played the same way on the road, I think we change our mindset in our game," said Henrik Sedin. "Good teams play one way and they know they're going to be successful doing that. I think we're getting better, but it's still a work in progress."
The Canucks are preparing for a two-game trip, which sees them in Calgary to play the Flames on Wednesday and Chicago to face the Blackhawks on Friday. One of the points of emphasis for the team is carrying their solid 5-on-5 play at home on the road.
Heading into their tilt with the Flames, Vancouver has scored nearly 40 per cent of its goals on the road with the man advantage.
"Not every night you're going to have success 5-on-5," explained Ryan Kesler. "It's doing the right things and managing the puck well. You do all the little things and you're going to end up having success 5-on-5."
On the injury front the Canucks could have a couple bodies back by the end of the road trip, as Kevin Bieksa and Alex Bolduc are close to returning.
Bieksa revealed Monday he's been battling the flu, which turned into pneumonia and forced him to miss Friday night's game against the San Jose Sharks.
The defenceman, who lost eight pounds while battling the virus, said he's been feeling symptoms since as far back as the team's 2-0 loss in Montreal on Nov. 9.
"It affects your energy level and stuff like that, but it's that time in the season where viruses are flying around and guys are giving them and taking them," Bieksa said. "I plan on practising [Tuesday]and I plan on playing in Calgary. I'm on the home stretch [Monday]hopefully.
"I feel a lot better than I did a few days ago."
As for Bolduc, it's been nearly two months since he last saw game action. The centre made the Canucks' opening day roster on the team's fourth line, but went down with a high ankle sprain during the Oct. 9 season opener after being hit by Los Angeles Kings forward Jarret Stoll.
"You kind of have to keep your spirits high, if not it [would've]been a long two months," said the Montreal native. "Coming to the rink every day, working out, you have that motivation to keep in shape.
"Watching the guys play is definitely hard, but it was motivational at the same time."
According to the Canucks, Bolduc will be on the team charter to Calgary Tuesday and the 25-year-old is eyeing the Chicago game for his return to the line-up.
"I think Calgary would be a stretch; Friday is not so much of a stretch," Bolduc explained. "I think it's a possibility, but we're going to have to see how these next couple practices go here."
The Canucks haven't ruled out the possibility of a conditioning stint in Manitoba of the American Hockey League for Bolduc, who has missed 21 games.
Special to The Globe and Mail
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