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Next 5 crucial for Canucks

When the Canucks have a stretch of five days between games in Octoberand a similar six-day layoff between games in November, you have towonder why so many games are being crammed together later on inFebruary, March and even April, when they play their final six games ofthe season in 10 days.

When the Canucks have a stretch of five days between games in October and a similar six-day layoff between games in November, you have to wonder why so many games are being crammed together later on in February, March and even April, when they play their final six games of the season in 10 days.

But when the Canucks return to the ice Friday against Colorado, they’ll open a five-game home stretch that is important for a few different reasons.

Last time we saw them, the Canucks popped Colorado’s Baron von Munchausen fantasy balloon with an 8-2 thrashing, so another win over the Avs would go a long way toward keeping that momentum through the rest of the month — a loss to the division leaders could deflate Vancouver’s own balloon just in time to meet their nemesis from the Windy City.

Every team the Canucks play for the rest of this month is ahead of them in the standings with the exception of Edmonton — and that one is important for the inner-division points at stake.

Finally, the home stay — which represents the longest to this point in the season — is important because of how brutal the Canucks gave been on the road this season. Granted they have been hit hard by injuries, but the discrepancy between their 7-2-0 record at GM Place and their 4-8-0 mark outside of British Columbia is too great to excuse.

On December 2, Vancouver takes off on a four-game road trip before coming back for another extended run at home with eight games in 16 days. Both this stretch and the one in December are crucial for the Canucks, who will spend all of February on the road, playing seven games in 13 nights before the world descends on Vancouver for the Olympics.

But first things first. Without looking ahead to the next run of games at home or the worrisome road trip in February, the Canucks have to be gunning for at least four wins to close out November.

Because not only are their home games important when accompanied by such a lousy road record, but Daniel Sedin is expected back soon, so the expectations will start to spike again quickly.