Canucks @ Sharks: Game 4 Preview

Dimitri Filipovic
May 07 2013 01:11PM


Why so serious, Alain?

In the lead-up to Game 3, I brought up the fact that the Canucks were dominating and possession, and that if they kept it up, they were a few bounces from getting right back into the series. I also mentioned that the Sedins and Ryan Kesler were trending upwards, as was the team's penalty kill. All those things made me believe that - while an 0-2 hole with 2 games to play in San Jose is definitely not an ideal situation to be in - this series was far from over.

Then Game 3 happened, as the team completely unravelled in the span of a few minutes in the final frame, as San Jose blew the doors off of this series. At this point even the most delusionally optimistic fan must see the writing on the wall. Regardless, I have a difficult time seeing this team's core group of prideful veterans letting their season end in an embarassing sweep.

When Drance asked Ray Ferraro (during his appearance on the CanucksArmy Podcast) who he'd start in net for Game 4, Ferraro, in a roundabout way, echoed those sentiments: "I would probably play Luongo. I don't know if there is a longer term vision for that, but I get to a point here where we're not trying to win 4 games, we're trying to win 1. And right now Luongo has been very good in this series.

Read Past the Jump to Get Set for Tonight's Game.

Broadcast Info:

Puck Drop: 7 PM PST

Television: TSN

Radio: Team 1040

Setup:

I'd assume that if the Canucks are going to go down tonight, they'll go down swinging with their best players. That would mean that we'll see a ton of the Sedins, a healthy dose of Ryan Kesler, and maybe, just maybe, more Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison. A boy can dream, right? 

This morning I wrote about how Garrison and Zack Kassian have been two of the lone bright spots in this disappointing series. Towards the end of Game 3, we saw Vigneault finally relent and send out Kassian with the Sedins on a regular basis. I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll see more of that tonight, given how much better Kassian has been than Burrows. Then again, it should have happened a long time ago, but I digress. We don't currently have any definitive word on the line combos, but if I were coaching, I'd have Sedin-Sedin-Kassian, Higgins-Kesler-Burrows, Raymond-Roy-Hansen, Weise-Lapierre-Schroeder. It's a shame I'm not coaching.

In net, the Canucks are once again tapping the pads of Cory Schneider, as they hope that he can rebound from his meltdown in the 3rd period of Game 3. Listen, the Canucks currently have two goalies on their roster who are studs, and give the team a realistic chance of winning every time they're in net. I personally would've stuck with Luongo for Game 3, and I view that particular decision as a (slight) mistake.

But now that it's done with, I think the only real play was to have Schneider back in there once again tonight. He's obviously the goalie of the future, and it's quite transparent that the team is trying to let him know that by handing the reigns over to him and giving him their full support. He's a fine option to stop the puck tonight, but I think this has more to do with keeping an eye on the future than anything else. Then again, this could just be a case of Alain Vigneault being stubborn, and going out on his own terms.

The back-end has been a topic of much discussion in these parts, but it doesn't sound like there will be any changes to the 6 that dressed on Sunday as Chris Tanev isn't ready to return from injury. Kevin Bieksa missed the morning skate, but he's most likely just resting up for tonight's game. He's pretty clearly being hampered by an injury right now, and while I respect the heck out of him for gutting through it, he's a complete liability every time he's out there. He needs to see less ice-time. 

My prediction for the tonight and the rest of this series: the Canucks win tonight with a 3-1 score and extend the series another game, only to lose in a heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night as Joe Pavelski streaks down the left wing on the Rogers Arena ice and beats the Canucks in overtime. 

Playnow

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PLAYER v. PLAYER. Jannik Hansen and Zack Kassian are currently tied with 0 points on the series. At this point, you can get 2.25-to-1 odds that Kassian will end the series with more points. Given that he'll probably be spending a majority of his time with the Sedins for however much longer this series goes on, that's rather enticing. [PLACE YOUR BET HERE].

HISTORY REPEATING. If you think that the Canucks still have a chance of winning this series, you're probably a loose cannon. But you're also probably feeling very lucky. So why not test that luck, by placing a 66-to-1 bet on whether or not a puck goes in off the stanchion. [PLACE YOUR BET HERE]

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Game Day Links

Steakcred

Don't forget to play StreakCred the new playoff pool game from the Nation Network. You can win a trip for 2 to Oktoberfest in Germany among the awesome prizes up for grabs. Only $20 and a portion of the proceeds go to Edmonton Charities. SIGN UP HERE.

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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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#1 Nick
May 07 2013, 01:37PM
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I like your line recommendations for the game! Why the hell not try something different - the other combinations certainly aren't getting it done!

Canucks in 7! LOL!

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#2 Diehardnuck
May 07 2013, 01:56PM
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As much as I'd like to believe they won't be swept the smart money says they will. It would be apropos for AV to go out after 6 straight losses (at least half of which were of the embarrassing variety) while refusing to make obvious lineup changes.

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#3 Taco
May 07 2013, 02:24PM
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I wonder why it has to be one guy in goal. Lu has looked good in all periods but the third and Schneider was also played out by the third, possibly due to sickness. I say 2 periods to Lu and then Schneids to close out. Thats one way to get all ~8 mil out in one game.

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#4 Kurt
May 07 2013, 02:31PM
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For the life of me I don't understand why AV gets all the venom and Gillis gets off free.

The coach is dealing with the players he has been given. He has been constantly deadline with the gong show circus around goalteding. Has a week gone by all year when AV wasn't dealing with the Lou saga in one way or another. Was he ever able to coach and strong unites team devoid of controversy? No.

I'm actually a proponent of AV going but I'm 10 times more in favor of Gillis getting the door. He alone caused the mess this year. The Loungo contract was terrible from the day it was signed due to its asinine structure. Gillis refused to admit that and won't face reality about the worth of Lou BECAUSE of the contract. Nobody would argue Lou is elite but that contract is an epic boat anchor on his worth. Gillis is so stubborn he ran the team into the rocks instead of admitting he screwed up and taking what he could get.

The whole thing is an epic fail and the #1 reason things went this way. The team can't score and Lou could have got assets to help. Never mind clearing the room of the soap opera and letting the coach and team operate in a positive environment.

And don't get me started on Ballard and the rest of Gillis' failures.

EGO cost this team because Gillis is too egotistical to admit he screwed up and cut bait with the best he could get.

FIRE Gillis!

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#5 billm
May 07 2013, 03:05PM
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@Kurt

You may get your wish. While normally a GM is going to get at least 1 if not 2 coaches before getting canned, if Gillis can't move Lou and has to go to Aquillini hat in hand to buy him out, or even having to buy out Booth and Ballard just to get enough cap space to fill the roster, that may be the end of him.

I like the lines but I would change them up a bit

Sedin-Sedin-Kassian Schroeder-Kesler-Burrows Higgins-Roy-Hansen Raymond-Lapierre-Wiese

Hamhuis-Garrison Edler-Alberts Ballard-Corrado (Juice is hurt. It shows in every shift.)

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#6 BrudnySeaby
May 07 2013, 03:12PM
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I agree with your line-up but would put Higgins with Roy. They had instant chemistry so why not seek to rekindle that, even so late in the game!?

If you can get the Higgins-Roy duo going, and the Kesler-Burrows one, the third player on that line would then hopefully follow suit and becomes somewhat interchangeable.

I would then either play Schroeder or Raymond with Kesler and Burrows on the 2nd line. Schroeder is positionally sound on defence and he can provide a bit of a different flavour in that 2nd line grinding style.

Also, I would move Corrado up to play with Edler for the whole game. That forces Edler to be a more defensively responsible (like he was while playing with Corrado before the play-offs starred). Bieksa can then play with Alberts in more limited minutes.

Oh, and yes, put Garrison on the #1 PP-unit to break some ankles and/or score some goals! Kesler can then be in front of the net.

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#7 Nick
May 07 2013, 03:35PM
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@billm

Actually, yes, I like these lines a bit better too! Can somebody please send these to AV!

(Sedin-Sedin-Kassian Schroeder-Kesler-Burrows Higgins-Roy-Hansen Raymond-Lapierre-Wiese)

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#8 NM00
May 07 2013, 03:36PM
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@Kurt

While I'm not necessarily in favour of canning MG as I think there are arguments either way, you hit on a key point.

In general, coaches are scapegoated for management failure.

Looking at the roster, virtually every single impact player was brought in by Burke/Nonis & Nonis other than the two BC boys Dan Hamhuis & Jason Garrison.

The farm system is poor, though the Canucks have mostly had low draft selections in the Gillis era. So while he might not have failed at the draft per se, he certainly hasn't added value.

People get disoriented by the record during his tenure. But the fact is that Gillis' moves have been a mixed bag at best.

I just hope the owner is paying attention. Of course, he's the same guy who wanted to trade Cory Schneider and Alex Edler to acquire Brad Richards. So I don't necessarily trust his judgement, either.

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#9 Randy
May 07 2013, 03:46PM
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Why are people so upset Vancouver like other teams have a window 2-3 yrs to win the cup, then they reload for a later date but it happens to all teams, Vancouver's arrow is facing down now. It is the cycle of the NHL.

Okay Todd McLellan had an excellent comback to Kevin Bieksa. one of the better I've heard.

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#10 Mantastic
May 07 2013, 03:59PM
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why is everyone want JS with a shoulder injury, so badly in the line up? do you really think playing an injured player would be an asset for the team?

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#11 JI123
May 07 2013, 04:40PM
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Mantastic wrote:

why is everyone want JS with a shoulder injury, so badly in the line up? do you really think playing an injured player would be an asset for the team?

Kevin Bieksa?? Yeah... AV doesn't necessarily follow that "rule"

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#12 Nuckers
May 07 2013, 05:00PM
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Mantastic wrote:

why is everyone want JS with a shoulder injury, so badly in the line up? do you really think playing an injured player would be an asset for the team?

Schroeder has a shoulder injury? If in fact that's true, then no, he should not be in the line-up. I can't seem to find confirmation of that tho...?

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#13 Nat
May 07 2013, 06:17PM
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Ugh, I don't want to lose on home ice again. I hope you're wrong Dimitri. Either a sweep of lose in Game 6, if we're going to lose.

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#14 Canooks
May 07 2013, 10:07PM
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@Kurt

|you cant blame someone like ballard when the guy gets barebone minutes while the sisters get all the icetime and does nothing.

Both gillis and Av should get the axe, not just for a pathetic team, but for wasting ears of time.

Facts and history would tell anyone that the canucks cant score in post season due to the invisible and heartless sedins and AV's other pets. What does gillis do? He gets rid of any grit and scoring left on the finals team and brings in satellite players while still maintaining the useless core players.

And lous contract is prime example of gillis failures. No one else in their right mind around the league is going to touch that ridiculous contract. Gillis gives leaky lu such an absurd contract to a golaie who's never won a thing in this league...and the olympics dont count, especially when he was playing on an allstar team. not to mention how leaky lu gave up the tying goal, only to be saved by Crosby. I bet the players during intermission were pissing in their pants, knowing who they had in goal.

Messier was right about the canucks, nothing but a country club mentality here, with players and management more concerned about keeping their jobs than anything else. Messier did one good thing, which was to open eyes to why the canucks sucked, which was and still is a lack or real accountability. It doesnt matter if the canucks lose, it's never anyones fault. It's never luongos fault he lets in bad goals, its never the sedins fault they CANT SCORE in post season, it's never Raymonds fault he misses the net most of the time, it's never Edlers fault he plays for the wrong team in crucial games, its never the coaches fault, its never the GM's fault....but it is Ballards fault, it's Hogsons fault for asking for more icetime when the siters do nothing themselves during post and they still get ice time.

Well, who cares about winning when you can lose excitingly?lol. As Daniel would say " I thought we played well enough to win..." Or his trade mark " We need to score.." NO.. REALLY, DANIEL??

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#15 KleptoKlown
May 07 2013, 10:37PM
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That crosschecking call on Bieska was a strong dose of weaksauce.

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#16 Sven
May 07 2013, 10:46PM
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@KleptoKlown

Hamhuis dove to get the penalty also, both should not have been called

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#17 Austin Wallace
May 07 2013, 11:44PM
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Who is most likely to be gone?

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