January 18 2011 01:21PM
(November 23, 2010 - Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)
Game Day Recon #46 - Canucks @ Avalanche
The Vancouver Canucks will see a couple of fresh faces in the lineup tonight, as they deal with a bout of injuries. The Canucks called up both Sergei Shirokov and Chris Tanev from the Manitoba Moose to fill in the holes. The youngsters appear to be up for to the test. So can they help the Canucks go 5-for-5 tonight?
Game Time: 6:00 PM PT
The Vancouver Canucks have owned the Avalanche this year, winning all four games so far, outscoring the Avs 13-7. Granted, the Canucks haven't owned the Avs in any of the games, but the Canucks have come out on the winning end of every head-to-head match up they've had this year. In fact, the Canucks have taken the Avs to task for the past two seasons, going 8-1-1 between this season and last.
The Canucks first order of business is to start scoring. They've lost two of their last three games, and were shut out in both losses. This explains the call-up of Sergei Shirokov, who recently set a Moose team record with an 12-game consecutive point scoring streak. After a couple of false starts with the Canucks in previous years, Shirokov appears to be ready to make the leap and provide some scoring to a suddenly dried-up offense.
As Jeff Paterson points out, the Canucks are now on their second run this season of scoring only 4 goals in 3 games. The last time that happened, they lost three straight against Pittsburgh, Chicago and Phoenix. The Canucks then went on a fantastic run, going 14-1-3, before losing to the Rangers. The first team the Canucks beat to start that unbelievable stretch of winning was the Colorado Avalanche.
The lines will see a big shake up to accommodate the new players and to get some scoring on the board today. According to Kristin Reid, the lines will look like this:
D Sedin-H Sedin-Burr
** Glass used as extra
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Get the first goal. For three games in a row, the opposition has scored the first goal, which is something that hasn't happened to the Canucks too often this year. They were able to overcome the problem against Washington because they play a wide-open style. Against the Rangers and Wild, who locked the Canucks down defensively, and choked them out, the Canucks could not score their way out of trouble and they were shut out in both games.
2. Get their special teams working again. Though they haven't slipped too badly, the Canucks still haven't been dominant on the special teams in their last three games like they had been through their winning run. If their first goal is a PPG and they can keep the Avs off the scoresheet through their PK, the outcome will favour the Canucks.
3. Luongo needs to steal one. Not that Roberto Luongo hasn't been good, but he needs to get his team back on track after a bump in the road by putting up a wall against a high-scoring Avs team.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Avalanche (canucks.com)
2. Colorado game big test for Shirokov and Canucks' slumping forwards (The Province)
3. Canucks notebook: Third line missing in action (Vancouver Sun)
4. Canucks try to upend Avalanche again (TSN.ca)
5. Game 46 Preview: Vancouver Canucks at Colorado Avalanche (Mile High Hockey)