Teams without it argue “it’s no big deal,” while those who possess it speak about its importance.

If last night is any indication, home-ice advantage is very significant to the Canucks as Alain Vigneault elected to start Roberto Luongo despite the fact his captain had played Saturday night in Edmonton.

Luongo was coming off a pair of subpar outings and with the basement-dwelling Avalanche in town, last night presented an excellent opportunity to get Vancouver’s No. 1 netminder a rest prior to the playoffs.

Now it appears as though Luongo’s only chance for respite will come in the season finale at Colorado should the Canucks’ position in the standings not rely on the outcome of that game.

He is certain to start versus Calgary tomorrow and Los Angeles on Thursday as Vancouver attempts to wrestle the Northwest title away from the Flames.

Should the Canucks win both of those games and get the proper help from Calgary’s other opponents this week, Jason Labarbera would most likely get the call against the Avs on Saturday.

That could also happen should the Canucks lose both contests and find themselves unable to catch either Chicago or Calgary five days from now.

If neither scenario materializes, Luongo will have played 35 of Vancouver’s final 37 games leading into the post-season.

That’s not a criticism, just a fact, and it illustrates how much the Canucks really covet the third seed in the conference.

– Scott Rintoul can be heard Monday-Friday on the TEAM 1040 from 6-9 a.m.

Latest From ...