Game #31 Preview: Canucks @ Kings

Dimitri Filipovic
March 23 2013 11:48AM


How the Sedins hold up against Anze Kopitar's line will go a long ways towards determining the result of this game.

I'm not quite sure how they have managed to do it - especially given their lineup construction in the most recent game against the Coyotes - but the Canucks have won two straight games. They'll be hard-pressed to stretch that streak, though, as they'll be invading the barn of one of the best teams in the league. 

As if that wasn't tough enough of a task, they'll have to do it without Alex Edler, who was (rather absurdly) suspended for two games following his run-in with Mike Smith. Thomas Drance did a fine job summing the situation up, so we'll just leave it at that. With the missing pieces up front and now on the defense, the team will need its medley of role players to step up once again if they wish to keep this thing moving in the right direction.

Read on Past the Jump for More on the Game.

Broadcast Info:

Puck Drop: 1 PM PST (*)

Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: The Team 1040

Setup:

If you'll recall, the last time these two teams met the Canucks put forth one of their finer performances of the season. The key to that game was just how effectively the Sedins were able to match up with the Kings' first line of Dustin Brown-Anze Kopitar-Justin Williams. They'll probably have to do it again, which quite frankly, is easier said than done. As you'll notice below (in the 'Numbers Game' section) the Kings are the most dominant team in the NHL when it comes to driving possession, and it's largely due to that line's prolific play. If they do in fact go toe-to-toe, we'll see 5 of the top 10 possession players in the NHL on the ice at the same time. Fun stuff!

Alex Edler's questionable defensive play is routinely the subject of ridicule amongst Canucks fans, and he definitely deserves it most of the time. But the team will no doubt sorely miss his presence; it's rather difficult to fill the 24 minutes of ice-time he logs, and everything he does in terms of moving the puck. It'll take a combined effort as there's no one individual on this roster that is capable of doing the things he does (although I'm sure Jason Garrison will be able to pick up the slack in the hipster department).

I'm not breaking any news here, but everyone will be made that much easier if Cory Schneider is able to play as well as he did on Thursday night. It'll be a step-up in terms of the quality of shooters that'll be firing pucks at him, but he seems to be locked in right now given his last two outings. This will be his 3rd straight start, after having sat out the previous 4 games.

As of right now we unfortunately don't have any exact details on the lineup the Canucks will dress, but apparently Chris Higgins is expected to be back (pun mostly intended). Even though he has struggled greatly this year, he will still be welcomed back into the lineup with open arms. At least he's, you know, legitimately a forward and what not.

(*) Finally, note the start time. It's an early game, which I'm actually rather pleased about. Despite what you may have heard, just because I'm a blogger doesn't mean that I don't have other things I'd rather be doing on a Saturday night. Cheers.

Numbers Game:

  Canucks Kings
Record 15-9-6 17-11-2
Goal Differential 0 +13
PP % 13.3% (29th) 19.8% (10th)
PK % 80.7% (16th) 81.2% (15th)
FO % 47.2% (27th) 51.4% (7th)
Corsi % 53.2% (5th) 57.3% (1st)
Fenwick Close % 53.8% (5th) 57.3% (1st)
Team PDO 100.8 (9th) 100.2 (15th)

Game Day Links:

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Dimitri Filipovic writes about hockey on the internet, and is the Managing Editor of Canucks Army. You can follow him on Twitter @DimFilipovic, and email him at dimitri.filipovic@gmail.com.
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