November 22 2013 12:09PM
I guess one potential positive stemming from the recent woes for the Canucks is that people won't run with the narrative of the "trap game" if they don't put together a good performance on Friday night against the Blue Jackets. Sure, they've got the Blackhawks and Kings on their schedule in the next handful of days, but at this point, who are the Canucks to be looking past an opponent? They just got it handed to 'em by the Florida Panthers on their home ice.
The positives? The Columbus Blue Jackets aren't a very good hockey team themselves. They're 8-11-3, and recently lost 7-0 to the Edmonton Oilers. The West has owned the East this year, and that trend has held true for the Canucks, who are 7-3-2 against the other conference.
The negatives? Well, you know them by now. The Canucks can't buy a goal to save their collective lives, yadi yadi yada. If you're looking for some entertainment on a Friday night, you might want to look elsewhere, because this one was the makings of an absolute snoozer..
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PDT
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
Image via Daily Faceoff
For the 4th game in a row, we're expected to see John Tortorella deploy a noticeably different lineup. I wouldn't get overly worked up about this particular one, though, because we've seen him split the Sedins up on more than a handful of occasions through the first 23 games of the season. It never lasts, rightfully so.
They'll probably be back together by the end of the 1st, but for now we've got to go with what we have, and it's that the Canucks are trying to spread the wealth. I understand that things have been really bad in the goal-scoring department, and that it's Tortorella's job to try and fix it.. but any rational person out there can't honestly believe that Daniel Sedin will start scoring goals now that he has been split up from one of the best set-up guys in the league, can they?
Poor Alex Burrows. He has yet to score in 11 games despite firing 34 shots on goal over that span. He has played on a line that quite frankly dominated play (with Santorelli and Higgins), and with the Sedins.. and now, he gets to play with Zack Kassian and Brad Richardson on a de facto 3rd line. Yippee!
Let's get to the opponent.
Some thoughts on the Blue Jackets:
-If you'll recall Sergei Bobrovsky came out of nowhere to post a .932 save %, 2.00 GAA in 2012-13, en route to winning the Vezina. He was, conveniently enough, an impending RFA, and there was the potential of the Blue Jackets giving in and paying him as a reward for his big season. Thankfully for them, they only gave him a 2-year deal.
Through 18 starts this year he has a .909 save %, 2.77 GAA, and is showing us all once again that you should neverevereverever commit to a goaltender long-term. They're so random.
-As of now we're working under the assumption that the Blue Jackets will be without Brandon Dubinsky, which would mean that an already shaky forward group will be without its two best skaters (+ Marian Gaborik). As a result, they've got a bunch of random guys that you may or may not have heard of in their lineup..
-.. which is why I feel fairly confident that this'll be a low-event, boring game. The scores of the past 4 games involving these two teams (from most to least recent): 3-1 CBJ, 0-0 (Canucks won in shootout), 2-1 VAN (SO), 2-1 CBJ (OT). They've only played once this season, and it was quite possibly the worst game of the season. At least they're in the East now..
-Jack Johnson is on their shutdown pairing. I'll just leave that fact here without comment.
-On a positive note, Ryan Johansen - a Vancouver native who was taken 4th overall in '10 - is currently having himself a whale of a season. He's facing the toughest competition on the team, starting only 41% of his shifts in the OZ, and has still managed a +8.0 Corsi Relative. He's also on pace for nearly 50 points, which doesn't seem like much, but is more than decent given the circumstances. It's nice to see a highly drafted forward do well in Columbus for once..
-If you're looking for some commentary from a Blue Jackets perspective - and let's get real, who isn't? - I'd recommend following Aaron Portzline. He's a beast of a beat writer.
THE NUMBERS GAME
|Corsi Close %||47.1% (24th)||53.5% (6th)|
|5v5 GF/60||1.78 (23rd)||2.28 (13th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.13 (14th)||2.12 (13th)|
|PDO||99.3 (19th)||99.5 (18th)|
|5v4 GF/60||6.54 (15th)||3.74 (28th)|
|5v4 SF/60||49.8 (22nd)||65.7 (2nd)|
|4v5 GA/60||8.14 (26th)||3.55 (1st)|
|4v5 SA/60||61.3 (24th)||44.6 (3rd)|
GAME DAY LINKS
- Tale of the Tape [via CDC]
- The Canucks need some speed. [via Tony Gallagher]
- John Tortorella's chemistry experiment. [via Ben Kuzma]
- The David Booth conundrum. [via Jason Botchford]
- A look at the week ahead for the Canucks. [via Pass it to Bulis]
Jumping on the Jackets - You get $1.85 for every $1 you bet if the Canucks score the first goal of the game, and win. Considering the recent track record for these two teams, the 1st goal of the game may very well be the only one of the night..
Breaking Out - You can get 4.50-to-1 odds on Zack Kassian scoring in a Canucks win. I'd prefer the odds to be a bit more in my favour, personally. While Kassian will be playing with Burrows and Richardson (which is a more promising combination than some of the ones he has seen this season), he's still only playing in the 12-14 minute range on a consistent basis. It's hard to bet on a guy to score that's playing that little.
Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.