Canucks set to regroup

HOSEA CHEUNG, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:29 AM ET

VANCOUVER -- Consider this unfamiliar territory for the Canucks.

The best in the West are on a two-game slide for the first time since the third week of November and have lost four of their last six.

For a team that's so used to winning over the past month-and-a-half, the inevitable slump has finally arrived. But it could very well be the wake-up call the Canucks need, having played subpar hockey over the past couple of weeks.

The focus now is on how they respond to this adversity.

Vancouver will get a chance to right the ship at home Thursday against the San Jose Sharks, a team that recently faced a major skid of their own.

The Sharks are heading into town on a two-game winning note, but it comes after a six-game drought that saw them score just eight goals.

Like the Canucks in their last four, the Sharks were also shut out twice during their losing stretch.

San Jose's lack of offence, and having dropped to 10th in the Western Conference, brought about roster changes in the form of speed and toughness with the additions of ex-Canuck Kyle Wellwood and ex-Blackhawk Ben Eager.

Wellwood, who played the previous two seasons with the Canucks, was picked off waivers Tuesday and will coincidentally make his Sharks debut playing on the third line Thursday against his former team.

During his time as a Canuck, the inconsistent but popular centre had 32 goals and 52 points in 149 games.

Having spent the earlier part of the season in a failed stint in the KHL, Wellwood will want to prove he belongs in the NHL.

And there's no better opponent to start doing that against than the team who opted not to re-sign him in the offseason.


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