Game Day Recon #21 - Avalanche @ Canucks
The Vancouver Canucks are slumping. The Avalanche are not. Is this the game where the Canucks get themselves back on track? Or do they lose their fifth straight for the first time since January 2009?
Game Start: 7:00 pm PST
TV: RSN-PAC (HD) Radio: Team1040
Despite panic and despair falling on Canucks Nation because of their four-game losing streak, and apparent lack of passion and fight-back during this time, the Canucks have a bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. Why? The Canucks are perfect against the Avs so far this season (2-0-0).
But the Avs are good. And are playing really good lately. The Avs have won 4 in a row, and have won 5 of their last 6. And they're winning despite a rash of injuries that have hit the team. F David Van Der Gulik (knee), F TJ Galiardi (broken right wrist), F Peter Mueller (concussion), and D Kyle Cumiskey (concussion) are all on the injured reserve list.
The Canucks also shook up the roster somewhat going into tonight's game. They put Peter Schaefer on waivers (and he has since cleared waivers) and recalled Jeff Tambellini from Manitoba. The Canucks need goal scoring to jumpstart their game, and Tambellini provides that, and has already proven that he can provide that scoring with the Canucks this year in his first stint with the club.
This marks the third game against the Avs in their 21 games. Needless to say, they are probably pretty familiar with their opponent tonight. And honestly, the Canucks problem is not their opponent. It's themselves. The Canucks have to overturn their problems, especially at 5-on-5. Their special teams have gotten them this far this season. But their even strength play has been puzzling, and downright awful lately. It's confusing because their 5-on-5 play last season was their hallmark. So if the Canucks expect to get themselves back on track, not just tonight but in the long term, they need to amp up their even strength play, and quickly.
And just to understand why this is important tonight... Colorado is ranked 1st in the NHL at 5-5 F/A at 1.61, while the Canucks sit 21st at 0.80. This will be a hefty challenge for the Canucks and they had better be up for it tonight, or the slumping and panicking will continue.
THE THREE KEYS
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. OMFG - Get the first goal!!! The Canucks have allowed at least the first two goals in 6 of their last 7 games, over which time the Canucks are 2-4-1, When the Canucks score first they are 8-1-1. They need to quit playing from behind (WAY BEHIND!) and put themselves in a better position to start games.
2. Please, oh please, make Milan's head bleed. Milan Hejduk is one of the greatest Canuck killers of all time. So far this season, the Canucks have managed to keep him in check. That's good. But they have to play him hard all game. Real hard.
3. Watch the tapes. The Canucks have played two fairly impressive games against Colorado so far this season. Just do it again. PLEASE. And score the first goal. GOOD GOD, SCORE THE FIRST GOAL.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game.
1. Tale of the Tape: Avs @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. Canucks not ready to push panic button (CBC Sports)
3. Game 21 Preview: Avalanche at Canucks (Mile High Hockey)
4. Avalanche/Canucks Preview (CBS Sports)
5. Avalanche At Canucks: The First Strike Is Deadly! (Nucks Misconduct)