Canucks Army GDT #45 - Penguins @ Canucks

Cam Charron
January 07 2014 03:28PM

I was busy writing the preview for the Toronto-New York game up at sister website theleafsnation.com, so this one was a little slow to go up. Just think of it as your first experience with having Canucks content delayed by Leafs stuff, as it is one of those famous TSN doubleheaders with the Toronto game first and the Vancouver game second. Thankfully, the first one starts at 4…

Anyway, about this game, there's a relatively small amount of buzz surrounding it, and Olympic team selections Brooks Orpik and Chris Kunitz, which I'm sure is the major draw going in. Minor matters, the Canucks are on a bit of a tailspin of late, losing four straight with their backup goaltender and resulting in a couple of curious lineup decisions. We think.

Also important, the return of Taylor Pyatt! 

KEY STATISTICS

  Penguins Canucks
Corsi Close % 50.4% (15th) 51.7% (10th)
5v5 GF/60 2.50 (7th) 2.35 (10th)
5v5 GA/60 2.24 (14th) 2.13 (9th)
PDO 100.0 (16th) 100.6 (11th)
     
  Penguins Canucks
5v4 GF/60 9.98 (2nd) 4.89 (23rd)
5v4 SF/60 61.2 (3rd) 63.0 (2nd)
4v5 GA/60 3.68 (2nd) 3.33 (1st)
4v5 SA/60 54.6 (20th) 40.2 (1st)
Penalty Differential +14 (3rd) +3 (12th)

From ExtraSkater and NHL

Nothing terribly exciting here, though we should note that the Penguins excellent 4-on-5 results are mostly due to goaltending, while the Canucks poor 5-on-4 results appear mostly related to goaltending. Special teams could be quite interesting here and if the Penguins take enough penalties, perhaps we'll see some give on the Penguins league-high 4-on-5 save percentage of .933, and the Canucks second-last 5-on-4 shot percentage of 7.8%.

The Canucks should have a slim advantage at evens, but noise overrides such a menial difference. While Sidney Crosby is a pretty scary player at both ends, we should note that Evgeni Malkin's line is susceptible on defence. If John Tortorella comes out and matches Malkin against Ryan Kesler instead of a checking line, we might have a good hockey game on our hands. Malkin's Relative CF% is just +0.5, which is lower than you'd expect. This line is driven at evens by Crosby, who also takes on "checking centre" responsibilities. He is very good. 

CANUCKS LINEUP

This is the big news today though. It was announced that David Booth and Dale Weise will sit in favour of Darren Archibald and Chris Higgins, who returns to the lineup after a one game absence. Best I can tell: 

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Mike Santorelli
Chris Higgins - Ryan Kesler - Zack Kassian
Benn Ferreiro - Brad Richardson - Jannik Hansen
Tom Sestito - Zac Dalpe - Darren Archibald 

Umm… #k

I can live with David Booth being a scratch. The guy goes through stretches dominating possession and taking shots, and then sort of sleeps through two weeks and everybody starts to get on his case again. I can accept that this is one of those times. He went two games shot-less after looking pretty good against Philadelphia and Tampa Bay. 

But is Benn Ferreiro or Darren Archibald really going to provide you with more expected production? I'm not sure I buy that. We know that defence matters, and we know that Booth doesn't routinely get out-shot more than his teammates. I find it odd how much he's struggled to find form under John Tortorella. He's coming back from various injuries but Tortorella has been patient with those.

Onto some good news though:

I get that Alex Edler is a bit of a polarizing figure around here as well, but the Canucks are looking pretty thin on defence right now:

Dan Hamhuis - Chris Tanev
Kevin Bieksa - Frank Corrado
Jason Garrison - Yannick Weber

Even the Canucks' expected injury replacement is out with injury. Still, this group of six is no worse than any group of six you might find elsewhere in the NHL.

PENGUINS LINEUP

From Daily Faceoff:

Chris Kunitz - Sidney Crosby - Brian Gibbons
Jussi Jokinen - Evgeni Malkin - James Neal
Tanner Glass - Brandon Sutter - Taylor Pyatt
Deryk Engelland - Joe Vitale - Craig Adams

Rob Scuderi - Kris Letang
Simon Despres - Brooks Orpik
Olli Maatta - Matt Niskanen

The Penguins went to the Random Name Generator to find Brian Gibbons, an undrafted college free agent from Boston College who played two full seasons in the AHL before being one of the (many) Penguins injury call-ups.

Goalies tonight are Edward Lack, Esq. and mostly likely the Olympic snub Marc-Andre Fleury. Fleury hasn't been confirmed but he's a workhorse for the Penguins and they aren't in any half of a back-to-back right now. He's also having a terrific season, oddly enough.

Puck drop is a little after 7. Live on TSN, but the first five minutes could be on TSN2. Rhys has the postgame. Enjoy.

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Cam Charron is a BC hockey fan that writes about hockey on many different websites including this one.
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#1 van
January 07 2014, 03:44PM
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Breaking up Sestito-Kesler-Kassian so soon?

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#2 Ted
January 07 2014, 04:22PM
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Booth and Weise both half-assed it over last couple games. I'm happy to see them scratched. Ferreiro and Archibald have been doing well in Utica. Also, Archi seems to be more willing to play physical/fight than Dale Weise and we need a bit of that. Nobody went after players running our goalie and we got pushed around a bit - not cool!

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#3 JFR
January 07 2014, 04:23PM
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Ferrario or Archie..whoever! This team needs some compete level and toughness on its 3/4th lines. If booth isn't scoring he is a liability and if Weise isn't playing hard he isn't an NHLer. This might be a short term energy fix, but I will take it. The injuries are racking up but other players have take their opportunities. Let's hope Ed Burr and Stanton get back soon.

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#4 Matt
January 07 2014, 05:18PM
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JFR, how do you figure Booth is a liability if he isn't scoring? He's a better defensive forward than any Canucks fourth-liner or Utica call-up.

Is Tanner Glass really playing on the third line in Pittsburgh? Are they ravaged by injuries or are they just that weak in their bottom six? I like Glass but he's a solid fourth-liner at best.

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#5 Lemming
January 07 2014, 05:37PM
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@Matt

I saw that Tanner Glass was on the 3rd line too. The side effect from spending 20 million on two centers is your depth will suffer. Then again, look at the Canucks; Ferreiro is on the 3rd line too, so it balances out. Sure, it could be Weise or Booth there, but it's not.

Frankly, a number of players need a swift kick (Jannik Hansen).

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#6 andyg
January 07 2014, 06:22PM
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van wrote:

Breaking up Sestito-Kesler-Kassian so soon?

I will bet he see's PP time!

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#7 north island #1
January 07 2014, 09:48PM
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Its not looking good, 2-0 Pits as of this writing. No snipers for the Nucks, vs a team full of snipers, for the Pens.. Gillis should be toast after this season, sorry, but I keep thinking what Micheal Grabner and Erhoff, would be like on this present team..Yea I seen all the comments on how Beiksa is better, but I don`t buy it,.plus/ minus ratings 2009-2011?,go head check it out.Erhoff was incredible, and Mike Gillis`s biggest mistake was letting him go..Yes I know oh my!! he wanted too much.b.s he was worth it !! Twice voted the Canucks best defenseman the two years here , and point production with the Sedins and Keslar tell it all.Erhoff had such good chemistry with the team.

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#8 Ted
January 07 2014, 09:54PM
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north island #1 wrote:

Its not looking good, 2-0 Pits as of this writing. No snipers for the Nucks, vs a team full of snipers, for the Pens.. Gillis should be toast after this season, sorry, but I keep thinking what Micheal Grabner and Erhoff, would be like on this present team..Yea I seen all the comments on how Beiksa is better, but I don`t buy it,.plus/ minus ratings 2009-2011?,go head check it out.Erhoff was incredible, and Mike Gillis`s biggest mistake was letting him go..Yes I know oh my!! he wanted too much.b.s he was worth it !! Twice voted the Canucks best defenseman the two years here , and point production with the Sedins and Keslar tell it all.Erhoff had such good chemistry with the team.

Isn't the Hoff making insane money? Yeah, he was a huge part of the team but he's not worth what he's getting paid. Get real. No chance the Canucks match that asinine offer.

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#9 5minutesinthebox
January 07 2014, 10:22PM
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Matt wrote:

JFR, how do you figure Booth is a liability if he isn't scoring? He's a better defensive forward than any Canucks fourth-liner or Utica call-up.

Is Tanner Glass really playing on the third line in Pittsburgh? Are they ravaged by injuries or are they just that weak in their bottom six? I like Glass but he's a solid fourth-liner at best.

You actually said the words 'defence' and David Booth is the same sentence without using the word 'none' or 'non existent', well done.

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#10 5minutesinthebox
January 07 2014, 10:52PM
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north island #1 wrote:

Its not looking good, 2-0 Pits as of this writing. No snipers for the Nucks, vs a team full of snipers, for the Pens.. Gillis should be toast after this season, sorry, but I keep thinking what Micheal Grabner and Erhoff, would be like on this present team..Yea I seen all the comments on how Beiksa is better, but I don`t buy it,.plus/ minus ratings 2009-2011?,go head check it out.Erhoff was incredible, and Mike Gillis`s biggest mistake was letting him go..Yes I know oh my!! he wanted too much.b.s he was worth it !! Twice voted the Canucks best defenseman the two years here , and point production with the Sedins and Keslar tell it all.Erhoff had such good chemistry with the team.

Christian Ehrhoff is on pace for 30 pts and only 4 goals this season (to go with his -9, since you put so much weight on that ), thats after a 32 pt 1st season and a decent shortened one. And if he isnt putting up points he is utterly useless as a defender. His contract is atrocious and unwarranted. His success was more due to the team he played on than his own play, and thats what shows more glaringly than anything. Mike Gillis didnt let him go, he offered him the same amount as Bieksa, and Hoff chose to go for the money (and the ridiculous term). If he cared about winning he would have stayed. Grabner is inconsistent at best. He had one great season, and how funny is it that it was his contract year. Even more funny his contract is structured that by the end of his contract he will be making more than his cap hit. He almost played himself right out of the league and was waived by Florida.

You need to get over it.

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#11 north island #1
January 08 2014, 02:07PM
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5minutesinthebox wrote:

Christian Ehrhoff is on pace for 30 pts and only 4 goals this season (to go with his -9, since you put so much weight on that ), thats after a 32 pt 1st season and a decent shortened one. And if he isnt putting up points he is utterly useless as a defender. His contract is atrocious and unwarranted. His success was more due to the team he played on than his own play, and thats what shows more glaringly than anything. Mike Gillis didnt let him go, he offered him the same amount as Bieksa, and Hoff chose to go for the money (and the ridiculous term). If he cared about winning he would have stayed. Grabner is inconsistent at best. He had one great season, and how funny is it that it was his contract year. Even more funny his contract is structured that by the end of his contract he will be making more than his cap hit. He almost played himself right out of the league and was waived by Florida.

You need to get over it.

Yes I know I should, but I noticed the great chemistry he had with the team.They have never been the same since he left.Also, he did lead the team in + -, the first year he was here, and was right up there the next.So I think alot of it has to do the the team he plays on now..

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