It's a sprint to the finish

BOB MACKIN -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 10:36 AM ET

The Vancouver Canucks have a dozen games to go in the regular season and they're getting closer to what few expected when the season began last fall: A playoff berth.

Barring injuries or a flu epidemic, they're poised to play some bonus hockey.

But many nagging questions persist in the final three weeks of the National Hockey League season.

Will goaltender Roberto Luongo get any rest? Will captain Markus Naslund snap out of his season-long funk? Will the Canucks avoid needless penalties? Will Jeff Cowan take home more bras after scoring unlikely pairs?

Perhaps some answers will be forthcoming tonight when the St. Louis Blues come to General Motors Place. Blues sold off Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin at the trade deadline last month. When they hosted the Canucks on Feb. 27, Vancouver had one of its worst efforts of the season in a 3-1 loss.

Canucks could have a day off tomorrow before the Detroit Red Wings make a St. Patrick's Day visit. Controversial ex-Canuck Todd Bertuzzi, who was never known to have a jolly wit or gift of the gab, won't be with the Wings.


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