January 11 2011 09:33AM
Well now THAT'S weird, isn't it?
(Photo by Richard Lam/image.net)
Game Day Recon #42 - Canucks @ Islanders
The Vancouver Canucks start a 5-game road trip on the East Coast with a visit to Long Island to face the suddenly surging (wha!?) New York Islanders.
All 12 people watching live at Nassau Coliseum should see quite a good game.
Game Time: 4:00 PM PT
The New York Islanders are one of the hottest teams in the Eastern Conference, going 7-3-0 in their last 10. But thanks to their absolutely terrible start to the year, they're still 14th and they're still 17 points out of a playoff spot. Hell, they're still 6 points behind 13th place! So the Islanders could be the hottest team in the league for 20 games (like the Canucks!) and they still won't be getting any closer to the playoffs.
You have to feel for John Tavares. After going 1st overall to the Islanders in the 2009 draft, he did the dutiful thing and proudly went to Uniondale. He didn't pull a Lindros or Steve Francis and whine about going to a terrible franchise. He did the honourable thing and played for the team that drafted him. But at this point, would ANYONE have begrudged the guy if he said he wouldn't play on Long Island? Not me.
The Canucks really only need to look after two players - John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Tavares and Moulson are tied for the team lead in goals with 14. After that, Blake Comeau is the only other player with double-digits in goals with 10. While the Canucks also have only 3 players with 10 goals or more, those three players are Daniel Sedin (25), Ryan Kesler (23) and Raffi Torres (11). They also have both Henrik and Tambellini sitting at 9 goals. So by night's end, the Canucks could have 5 players with 10 goals or more.
The bottom line here is that if the Canucks can stifle them Tavares and Moulson, they should stride to victory without much push-back.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Get the legs moving early. The Canucks just flew clear across the continent and three time zones. This is usually death to traveling teams. So the Canucks, who have shown their unbelievable conditioning several times this year, need to shake off the stiff legs early and get themselves into the game as soon as possible.
2. Attack! The Islanders have an awful defense and shaky, rookie goaltending with Roloson gone and DiPietro hurt (shocking, I know). The Islanders don't even have one player with a positive plus-minus. Their plus-minus leader is Milan Jurcina... at 0. The Canucks have to present their league-leading attack and punish the Islanders.
3. Former Islanders look for revenge. Jeff Tambellini was most recently an Islander, but Raffi Torres and Roberto Luongo were both drafted by the Islanders and started their careers there. All three could and should have a good game tonight, especially Tambellini who will certainly want to prove that Islanders made a mistake in giving up on him.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Islanders (canucks.com)
2. For Canucks Luongo, Torres, Tambellini, it’s back to where it all began (Vancouver Sun)
3. Luongo blossomed after leaving Long Island (Montreal Gazette)
4. Top-ranked Canucks get shot at raw goalies (CBC.ca)
5. Canucks-Islanders Preview (Yahoo! Sports)