December 08 2013 01:49PM
Patrick Roy is a loose cannon, and it's awesome.
The Colorado Avalanche, who visit Rogers Arena on Sunday evening to take on the Canucks for the first time this season, are basically the polar opposite of the team we cover on this platform. Well, except for their coach being a loud, entertaining, loose cannon.
But they've received fantastic goaltending through the first third of the season, and have a ton of young exciting talent up front. On the other end of the spectrum their blueline is as suspect as it gets, and they've been performing over their heads due to some nice puck luck.
I know they're in a different division now thanks to the realignment, but still, it feels weird that these two teams haven't played each other yet. That'll change tonight. You'll hear about how the Canucks have dominated the Avs in the past - having gone over 3 years without a loss to them at home - but things have changed..
Puck Drop: 5:00 PM PST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
I figure we'll see the same lineup from Friday night's overtime victory against the Coyotes. That means that Booth will stick with the Sedins on the top line, Higgins-Kesler-Santorelli will form the 2nd line, and so on and so forth. Nothing new there. There is some back-end news, though:
Canucks recall Weber, not Corrado, from Utica.— Jason Brough (@JasonPHT) December 8, 2013
As far as I know, this won't affect thing for tonight's game. Andrew Alberts, after not really doing anything detrimental of note in his 6+ minutes of action last time out, will probably dress again. But the Canucks do play again tomorrow against the Hurricanes, and Weber could potentially draw in then.
I know that Canucks fans will wonder why Corrado wasn't the one that got the call, but I assume they didn't want to call him up here just to scratch him (which brings up a very valid follow up question of "why don't they just play Corrado?", which I don't really have an answer to..). Weber also registered 7 points in 7 games following his demotion to Utica, and this could potentially be somewhat of a reward for that.
It kind of goes without saying, but there's a little bit of added importance for this game in terms of the playoff race they're both currently in. The Avs sit 3rd in the Central Division at the moment, but the Wild are hot on their heels. It's certainly a possibility that both of these teams wind up taking the two Wild Card slots to get into the playoffs come Spring.
Let's take a look at the lineup the Avalanche are expected to ice tonight, via Daily Faceoff:
I have some thoughts:
-Despite Semyon Varlamov getting absolutely rocked against the Oilers a few days ago (to the tune of 8 goals against), he and JS Giguere have combined to stop 93% of the shots they've faced this season. Last year Varlamov posted a 3.02/.903, while Giguere wasn't much better at 2.84/.908. Nobody could've predicted this, once again proving that goaltending is super duper random.
-Jan Hejda has been really good for the Avs this year but he injured his knee and will be out for a while. That's a big deal, because as you may've noticed, their defense is shaky at best. Nate Guenin? Nick Holden? Who are these days guys? Cory Sarich couldn't crack the Flames lineup last year, and now he's logging important minutes for the Avs. Andre Benoit, an AHL journeyman, is better known for his awesome book from this past summer than anything he has done on the ice. Smoke 'n' mirrors.
-Despite all of that, their forwards are awesome and totally redeem the Avs as a team. I'm personally really excited to see guys like Duchene, Landeskog, MacKinnon, and O'Reilly play. That's as good as it gets from a "young, dynamic talent" perspective. They've got so much depth up front that they could swallow inexplicably trading away Steve Downie (who I really like as a player, despite his shenanigans) for The Artist Formerly Known as Max Talbot.
-Speaking of shenanigans.. I hope Cody McLeod doesn't do anything stupid tonight. He has already had 2 absolutely idiotic hits - to Kronwall and Brodin, look 'em up - this year, and for my money he's one of the dirtiest players in the league. I rarely ever see him get mentioned in the discussion, for whatever reason.
-Patrick Roy makes me laugh:
|Corsi Close %||50.1% (14th)||52.8% (8th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.63 (6th)||2.39 (9th)|
|5v5 GA/60||1.80 (5th)||2.23 (17th)|
|PDO||103.4 (1st)||99.6 (18th)|
|5v4 GF/60||5.14 (23rd)||4.58 (26th)|
|5v4 SF/60||53.8 (13th)||65.6 (2nd)|
|4v5 GA/60||5.73 (13th)||3.39 (1st)|
|4v5 SA/60||58.2 (25th)||43.7 (4th)|
- Tale of the Tape [via CDC]
- "Safe is Death" when it comes to playing with leads. [via Thomas Drance]
- Tortorella's honesty is startling, and appreciated. [via Tony Gallagher]
- Andrew Alberts finally gets a shot. [via Pass it to Bulis]
Two specials via PlayNow.com.. [Don't forget to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets!]
Avalanche of Goals - Over 5.5 total goals + a Canucks win gets you $3.25 for every $1 you wager. It's distinctly possible given the improved offense from the Canucks, and the talent up front that the Avs have.. but neither of these teams have been participating in overly high scoring games this season, meaning that we're far more likely to see a 2-1 or 3-2 game than something with a 4 involved..
Clutch Kassian - This seems like a total sucker bet. Sure, you're getting 5.75-to-1 odds, but realistically what are the chances that Zack Kassian scores a goal while playing on a 4th line next to Tom Sestito? I'd say remarkably low. I'd need a much bigger payout to even consider this bet. Sorry, PlayNow.