October 28 2013 01:36PM
Alex Ovechkin is in town! Spread the word! Alex Ovechkin is in town! [Image via Jeff Vinnick]
It was a relatively quiet weekend on the Canucks front with John Tortorella and his coaching staff giving the team a few days off to rest up, get settled. Seems like a reasonable thing to do given that they were out of town for nearly 2 weeks.
But now things are about to pick up, as they'll be kicking off a 3-game homestand in which they'll face 3 marquee opponents - the Capitals, the Red Wings, and the Maple Leafs. Some people around here - myself included - tend to complain about how the Canucks can be fairly boring at times. Well, that shouldn't be a problem over the next handful of days, thanks to the intrigue that their aforementioned opponents bring along with them.
Read on past the jump for a preview of the game which gets this fun little stretch started.
Puck Drop: 7 PM PST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Vancouver
This seems like a good place to start our preview:
Burrows' return couldn't come at a better time with the news that Hansen, Weise, Booth, and Schroeder will all be out for at least a few more games (and for some of them, much longer than that). He has missed 12 straight games after getting injured in the opener, so it's tough to say what we can expect from Burrows, but I'm sure he wouldn't be in there unless he was ready to play the type of game that we've come to know and love from him. After all, there was word that he could've come back on the road trip, so I'm not worried about him.
Obviously for now, given how the way they've been producing, it's impossible to split Kesler up from the Sedins.. but it's impossible not to wonder how long it'll be before we see Burrows reunited with them, with Kesler moving back down to the 2C slot. I guess if Santorelli keeps impressing, and the top line keeps racking up the points, then this sort of lineup arrangement may stick around for the forseeable future.
I feel like I don't really need to "sell" you on this game. The name Alexander Ovechkin kind of speaks for itself. Back in the summer when the new-look schedule was released by the NHL, I was very vocal about my appreciation for getting to see some of the biggest stars in the league that just so happen to play out East (Crosby, Malkin, Stamkos, Tavares, Ovechkin, etc.) twice each.
The Capitals themselves have had a very uneven start to the year, oscillating between dominant and laughable, but through it all they've been entertaining as hell because of Ovechkin's return to the top over the past year or so. After everyone and their grandmother picked his game apart and came up with reasons for why his offensive output had been declining, all he has done is register 42 goals in 59 regular season games under Adam Oates (including 32 in his last 32 games!!). The craziest Alex Ovechkin stat to me though is his 72 shots on goal in 11 games, which puts him on pace to top his career high 528 SOG back in '08-'09.
While we could talk about Ovechkin all day, though, let's take a look at the rest of his team and their expected lineup (via Daily Faceoff):
I'm more than mildly amused by the fact that Mikhail Grabovski is back to playing as a 3rd line center alongside two players that are nowhere near his talent level, after everything that happened last year in Toronto. Meanwhile, in net they'll be starting Michal Neuvirth, giving their #1 BradenHoltby a breather. I can't confirm or deny the rumour that Holtby is sitting out tonight because of some Twilight commitments.
In all seriousness though good luck to Neuvirth, as he'll be playing behind a team that is giving up the 5th most shots per game in the league. That's a big change for the Canucks given that their last two opponents (Devils and Blues) gave up the 4th and 7th fewest shots, respectively. The Capitals are also giving up the 5th most goals against/game, so what I'm trying to say is that there's an outside shot that even you score a goal tonight.
And finally, GUESS WHO'S BACK, BACK AGAIN.. VOLPATTI'S BACK, TELL A FRIEND!!
|Fenwick Tied %||48.5%||45.1%|
GAME DAY LINKS
- Tale of the Tape for tonight's game. [via CDC]
- On the wing Ryan Kesler is a "slayer". [via Jason Botchford]
- Hey, look at these guys trying to use numbers. [via Pass it to Bulis]
- Canucks are set to open up a homestand. [via Iain MacIntyre]
Crushing the Caps - You're getting 3.70-to-1 odds if you believe that the Canucks will win by 2 or more goals tonight. That's a tough one, since the Canucks really aren't running away from anyone this year, but I guess an empty netter towards the end of the game isn't out of the question if they're up by 1.
Back in Van City - You get $3.25 for every $1 you wager if you believe that the Canucks will score over 3.5 goals and win. There are only 4 teams in the league giving up more goals against/game than the Capitals, so this could very well be a big offensive breakout game for the Canucks.
Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.