March 16 2011 11:05AM
NOT UP IN HERE! (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images North America)
Game Day Recon #72 - Avalanche @ Canucks
The Canucks have won 6 straight. The Avs have lost 8 straight. The Canucks are first in the league and doing their best to stay there. The Avs are looking at a lottery pick and a REALLY good one, at that. The Avs perennial Canuck killer, Milan Hejduk, is out of the lineup and they have Brian Elliott in net.
All things are pointing to a Canucks blowout tonight. So will the Canucks actually put a division rival out of its misery, or will they phone this one in? In years past, they'd have phoned this one in, but this year the Canucks have been a little more ruthless.
Game Time: 7:00 PM PT
The Avalanche has has almost no luck against the Canucks this season. Vancouver won their first four meetings this year, before the Avs finally broke through with an overtime win in Denver on January 18th. Since that game, the Avs have played 22 games and are 2-18-2. That's 6 points out of a possible 44. The Canucks, on the other hand, have played 25 games and are 17-6-2. And the Avs are doing nothing to help their cause. Through those 22 games, the Avs have allowed 4 goals or more 14 times, and have only scored 4 goals twice... and those were the two games they won. The Avs are not just losing. They're getting blown out of games.
It is obvious that the two teams are going in completely opposite directions.
All of the Avs are struggling right now, but the player struggling the most is Matt Duchene. Since that last game against the Canucks, Duchene has 3G 5A 8Pts in 22GP, and is -18. However, newly acquired goaltender Brian Elliott is giving a Duchene a run for the title. In his 5 GP since coming to Denver, Elliott is 0-4-1 with a 4.40 GAA and a 0.875 Sv%.
Despite their stranglehold on the season series, the Canucks have had very close games with the Avalanche this season. Three of the their five meetings have been decided by only 1 goal, and nobody has scored more than 4 goals. But the Canucks do have one carrot being dangled in front of them. A win tonight will guarantee them that they win the Nortwest Division and therefore a playoff spot no lower than 3rd. In fact, mathematically, the Canucks are about 97% assured that they will take top seed in the West. But we Canucks fans like our guarantees.
If the Canucks needed any extra motivation tonight, the organization is hosting its annual Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon.
From the Canucks...
With the support of fans, donors, players, employees and sponsors partners, the Canucks for Kids Fund (CFKF) has granted more $32 million to charities within British Columbia since its inception 25 years ago. Serving more than 100 different organizations, the CFKF donates to charities which support children’s health and wellness, foster the development of grassroots hockey, and facilitate and encourage education in BC.
In support of the Canucks for Kids Fund, online donations are being accepted now by clicking the link here.
Event day only from 12pm - midnight, donate on-line or at 1-85-KIDSFUND (1-855-437-3863).
All those who donate before midnight on March 16th are eligible to win a 2011 Chevrolet Cruze. Rules and regulations.
Folks... please donate. Whatever amount it is. Don't be shy if you can only donate $10. Just think - it's $10 more that goes toward helping a needy child. Those $10 donations can add up quickly.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Do it for the kids! I know I just mentioned it, but the Canucks can find a lot of motivation in tonight's event. And I hope they do.
2. Get your scoring on! The Avs have a positively brutal defense, and even more so lately. The Avs have allowed the most goals in the entire league. They have the 29th-ranked PK. And are ranked 29th in total losses when trailing after both the 1st and 2nd periods. They let in goals and they don't often come back in games when they're down. With the Sedins looking to make their mark atop the NHL scoring table, this would be a GREAT game for them to open up and go for the jugular.
3. Get this thing going early. The Avs have more total goals allowed than goals scored in all three periods this year. However, their biggest margin exists in the 1st period, where they are -22. Compare that to the Canucks, who are +30 in first period goals for vs. against. Let's get the scoring started early. Oh, and the Avs rank 30th in goals allowed in the first period. And the Canucks rank first.
Here are your top 5 links for today's game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Avalanche @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. Canucks Gameday for March 16, 2011 (The Province)
3. Canucks turn attention to top seed in West (CBC Sports)
4. Canucks/Avalanche Preview (Yahoo! Sports)
5. Game 69 Preview: Avalanche at Canucks (Mile High Hockey) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!