Canucks Army GDT #75 - Canucks @ Avalanche

Dimitri Filipovic
March 27 2014 02:04PM

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There are plenty of things I miss about the Northwest Division days, and a large chunk of that has to do with the Colorado Avalanche. Beyond just the way that the Canucks have thoroughly dominated them in recent years, there's also the fact that the Avs have now quickly become one of the most watchable teams in the entire league. It's weird that it's March 27th, and that these two teams are facing each other for just the 2nd time this season. But that's the new reality we live in.

The Canucks make their one and only trip this season to the state where it's legal to not only smoke pot but also cheer for Peyton Manning and his forehead. Tonight you can watch them try to win 4 games in a row after last night's offensive outburst, all while keeping a close eye on the scoreboard. 

It's a busy Thursday night of hockey, but there's one game in particular that should be of interest: the Coyotes at the Devils. Cheering on the Devils is something that both the optimists in Vancouver and the people attempting to steer the tank in the right direction can agree upon.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 6:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

The Canucks

Since they played last night, the Canucks didn't have a morning skate today, so there's no real lineup news. With that being said here's their projected lineup courtesy of the good people over at Daily Faceoff:

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The Avalanche

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The Avalanche have been something of a prime regression candidate for basically the entirety of the season, but things have really gotten particularly dire recently. They're now all the way down to 27th in the league in corsi close %, and you can look at their tumble down the ranks here thanks to Extra Skater's nifty little visual:

Screen Shot 2014-03-27 at 10.48.32 AM

Oh, hey! That was an impromptu and unexpected appearance from Patrick Roy. But I'm not complaining; he makes everything just a little bit funner with his feistiness. 

Here are the things Colorado has going for them:

They've got a special amount of firepower up front. Matt Duchene is on the short list of "must-see" players currently in the NHL, Gabriel Landeskog and Ryan O'Reilly are fantastic two-way players, and they've got a historically great 18 year old on their team. 

If Nathan MacKinnon were playing on a Canadian team, or in any bigger NHL market, people would be losing their minds over him. He's running away with the Calder this year, and I personally can't wait to see how much better he can get in the coming years (which, freakishly enough, is probably a ton).

They're also way ahead of schedule, and will be back in the playoffs for the first time since their short cameo in '09-'10.

Here are the things that should worry the Colorado Avalanche and their fans:

The way they've managed to succeed this season isn't a recipe for future success. But even if it were, it wouldn't matter, because they appear to be on a collision course with the Chicago Blackhawks who will absolutely eviscerate them in the 1st round come playoffs.

One of the many reasons that'll happen is because of their paper thin blueline, which includes Erik Johnson (who is kind of quietly putting things together for the first time in a while after looking like a lost cause; but may miss tonight's game with the flu, just FYI), Jan Hejda (playing over his head, being relied upon too much, but still reliable), Tyson Barrie (who I really like, but still has lots of things to learn about playing defense at the NHL level), and then a couple of "guys". 

They have a couple of defensemen in their system that have potential who they've recently spent picks of value on (Duncan Siemens, Chris Bigras), but for now they're just trying to make do and get by without being exposed too much. That can only last for so long, realistically.

Ultimately, I'd imagine that fans of the team are both a) aware of this, and b) don't really care. The success in the present has been the cherry on top of a young, exciting team that's worth tuning in for every night they're playing. What a luxury that must be.

The Numbers

Canucks Avs
5v5 Corsi Close % 52.0 (8th) 47.5 (26th)
5v5 GF/60 2.19 (19th) 2.55 (5th)
5v5 GA/60 2.16 (12th) 2.27 (17th)
5v5 PDO 99.9 (T-14th) 101.8 (3rd)
     
5v4 GF/60 4.93 (25th) 6.57 (9th)
5v4 SF/60 58.5 (4th) 49.1 (21st)
4v5 GA/60 4.88 (6th) 6.10 (17th)
4v5 SA/60 39.9 (1st) 59.0 (T-26th)

Gameday Reading

Eddie Lack makes his 15th straight start in this one, with yet another double dip in a back-to-back scenario. By now I think we're all familiar with what the data says about leaning on a goaltender to do that, but what's also just as clear is that it'll take Eddie Lack being banned from the arena for him not to start for the Canucks at this point.

Further on that subject, I recommend giving Jason Botchford's "Provies" from last night a read. In no uncertain terms, he spills the beans on what's going on with Jacob Markstrom, technically considered the team's "back up goaltender", at the moment. Rollie Melanson is deconstructing him, and fixing him to his liking, which means that for the time being Markstrom is anything but ready for NHL action.

So it'll be Eddie Lack for better or for worse until they're mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, which could still be delayed a while longer if they continue to win games. For that to happen it'll require Lack to continue putting together performances such as the one submitted in Minnesota.

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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 Goon
March 27 2014, 02:25PM
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Two observations about the line David Booth can't be on the fourth line after last night and boy oh boy there's no team deeper in 3rd line wingers than Vancouver

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#2 Goon
March 27 2014, 02:26PM
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ugh that comment got mangled. should read 'Two observations about the lines:'

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#3 NM00
March 27 2014, 02:37PM
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On the bright side, at least Tortorella is taking #tanknation seriously by starting Lack on back to back nights...

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#4 James M
March 27 2014, 02:51PM
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I haven't been keeping up with the Avs. What's the explanation for why their Corsi and defense is weak but they still do well?

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#5 JCDavies
March 27 2014, 03:10PM
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Not enough cliches in this post, in my opinion. Missed opportunity. I am disappoint.

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#7 Ted
March 27 2014, 03:28PM
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NM00 wrote:

On the bright side, at least Tortorella is taking #tanknation seriously by starting Lack on back to back nights...

Yes, that is exactly what they're doing. Tanking. All of these guys made the NHL because they have that mentality. You are pure genius. How I miss your wisdom and knowledge of everything NHL. You are my hero.

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#8 Marsh
March 27 2014, 04:55PM
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JCDavies wrote:

Not enough cliches in this post, in my opinion. Missed opportunity. I am disappoint.

There's one on the Av's -isn't that enough?

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#9 Nick
March 27 2014, 05:23PM
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I don't think the Devils matter for tanking. The first rounder they got back from the kovalchuk mess is 30th overall no matter where they finish.

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#10 JCDavies
March 27 2014, 05:32PM
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@Marsh

No, not if you're giving it 110%.

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#11 Goon
March 27 2014, 06:14PM
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James M wrote:

I haven't been keeping up with the Avs. What's the explanation for why their Corsi and defense is weak but they still do well?

A top-ten power play and #3 in the league in PDO.

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#12 JFR
March 27 2014, 06:39PM
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I have to say that event though I despise Phoenix as a ridiculous Hockey Market and the place that stole my boyhood team the Jets, they are doing what they are suppose to. Winning on the road. Up 1-0 on Jersey

Canucks should take a look. Dave Tippett has a team that is hanging on to number 8 playing on the road in NYC, Pitt and NJ well after losing Mike Smith. He is a solid coach. The kind I wish we had.

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#13 andyg
March 27 2014, 06:55PM
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Ted wrote:

Yes, that is exactly what they're doing. Tanking. All of these guys made the NHL because they have that mentality. You are pure genius. How I miss your wisdom and knowledge of everything NHL. You are my hero.

That's right,no one on this team cares about their draft position.(they all want to win) With Booth finding some confidence and Kass rounding into shape they might just squeak in.

If Henrick comes back they could do some damage. With Matthias and Jensen we have a 4 line team.

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#14 JoJo
March 27 2014, 09:31PM
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I recall someone here saying when the AVs hired Roy how it would make their franchise with a proven winner as their coach, to which a couple of typical Canuck fanboys disagreed with their usual arrogance.

Well...let's look at both teams now. Looks like the fanboys were WRONG again. LOL. Hey, maybe the Canucks can hire more unproven losers like Linden and Mclean to coach them. LOL. Looks like the AVs are going to the playoffs playing like a TEAM while the arrogant overrated Canucks are playing like a bunch of quitters. LOL

Hey, amber alert, has anyone seen the Sedins all year? Looks like the twins have cashed in and checked out. Great Canucks, 2 salaries for the payout of none.LOL. Maybe next year they'll show up for the regular season, and then disappear just in time for the post season. LMFAO

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#15 Cousin Vinny
March 27 2014, 10:17PM
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@Ted

Still can't see the forest through the trees, Ted?

Your team hasn't won anything in 44 years. Forty four years...that's a long time. So what have they done that is of any use? Are you still supporting the team that doesn't even know how to get its act together? Why? Why would you support a group like that? I think it is pretty obvious that you've been had by your team. You've been paying for mediocrity and you should not expect anything but.

Now before you start accusing me of being an oilers fan, let me say that it is so clear what the Canadian teams are never going to win a cup with Bettman in charge. Montreal was the last to do it the year Bettman came in and it was only because Bettman didn't have enough time to use his tentacles yet. The Canadian teams, they all suck.

Face it man, all beat players and best management and scouts work in the good old USA. The refs are not refs but "game managers" and the head of the dis com is none other than sock puppet Shanny, so you know the Canadian teams will never get a fair shake.

Better open your eyes son, stop supporting hockey Canada cause the cup aint ever going to come back with Bettman in charge. That is, unless some of the greedy useless nut hugging CAnadian owners actually grow a pair and stand up to Bettman. But of course, all Bettman has to do is wave a few bucks in their faces and they'll dance a jig for him. Canadian hockey sucks , and the only ones to blame are the delusional fans who keep paying for a dump product year in year out. conmen don't exist if there are no willing victims. You....like your fanboy friends, are able and willing.

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#16 PB
March 27 2014, 10:35PM
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@Cousin Vinny

That's some pretty sad trolling

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