'Nucks seek Rocky Mountain high

BOB MACKIN -- 24 Hours Vancouver

, Last Updated: 10:28 AM ET

More Rocky Mountain madness, thanks to the National Hockey League's scheduling wiz.

Unlike January, eight of Vancouver's 12 February games will be on the road. Canucks start with an Oil and Flame sandwich. Edmonton, which was last place in the Northwest division yesterday, visits tonight and the Canucks play in the Alberta capital on Tuesday. Saturday is a Hockey Night in Canada date with the Flames in Cowtown.

The Oilers, who come to Vancouver after facing the Blue Jackets last night, beat the Kings 4-3 on Saturday after a 5-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks. The Flames also beat the Kings after overtime road losses to the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild. They'll be hosting the Canucks without any rest because the Blue Jackets land in Calgary on Friday.

Last time the Canucks had an Alberta interlude was the Boxing Day to Jan. 5 period.

They beat the Flames three times and the Oilers twice during a seven-game winning streak that set the stage for a respectable January, which ended on a sour note.

Canucks finished January with eight wins and four losses, only one of which were in regulation. Half of January's wins, however, were against Eastern conference opponents. That provides minimal help for the Canucks in their battle for a Western conference playoff spot. They can ill afford to let opponents like Calgary and Edmonton escape with a charity point from an overtime or shootout. Regulation wins are the order of the day.

February, the shortest month on the calendar, has historically been among the longest for Canucks' fans. Seven times the team has won as few as two games in the second month of the year. However, with the trade deadline on Feb. 27, there could be some inspired play for those that want to depart the squad or stay for a possible playoff run.


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