March 29 2014 02:23PM
Image via Earl Sleek
In theory, the Anaheim Ducks are hardly the fearsome opponent that they'd appear to be on paper based on their sparkling 47-18-8 record this season. They've been a prime regression candidate (much like Vancouver's most recent opponent) for a while now, and it appears to be starting to catch up to them.
They've won just 5 of their 12 games in March, with a handful of performances ranging from uninspiring to downright worrisome mixed in there. Heck, they just most recently had all sorts of difficulties with their swing through the province of Alberta, which isn't exactly known for its stellar hockey product these days.
But for whatever reason they appear to be a team that gives these Vancouver Canucks all sorts of fits this year, having beaten them all 3 times they've faced off. It's not so much that they've won all of those meetings, though. Moreso it's that they've humbled them in a bad way; including both a 9-1 rout and the worst possession game of the season for the Canucks.
Fourth time's the charm? I mean, at this point basically just showing up to the arena would be an improvement on their past showings against the Ducks in 2014 to-date.
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PST
[via Daily Faceoff]:
Obviously the big lineup news is that, by all accounts, Kevin Bieksa is somewhat miraculously expected to play tonight despite the ugly looking injury he suffered against the Avs. He has been doing this thing long enough to know his own body and what not, but I just hope he's not rushing himself back in before he's actually physically capable of competing. Risking further, potentially more serious injury for this current situation would be rather misguided.
We didn't cover this news yesterday on this platform, but the team was obviously more than just a little dubious regarding his availability for this one based on the news that they've recalled Frankie Corrado from Utica.
Now it sounds like Corrado won't even dress because of Bieksa's sudden recovery, which sucks for both Frankie and the Comets. He'll be sitting in the pressbox wearing a suit instead of doing his part in trying to ensure that at least one team affiliated with the Vancouver Canucks makes the playoffs this season. I'm sure that the Comets could've used his presence on the blueline in last night's shootout loss, and in tonight's game against the Abbotsford Heat.
Eddie Lack starts again for what seems like the billionth time in a row and at this point I think we should only make note of who's starting for the Canucks only if it's not him.
The Ducks will be sitting Teemu Selanne in an attempt to keep him fresh (not that it would necessarily matter because he's not even that good a hockey player anymore, but he did have 2 of his 9 goals this season the last time we saw him). They'll also start Frederik Andersen for the 3rd time this season against the Canucks, since Hiller went last night in Edmonton.
Here's their fenwick chart in 5v5 close situations:
The thing is: in the grand scheme of things this is probably a bigger game for them than it is for the Canucks. They've had themselves a wildly successful regular season thus far, but if things hold up the way that they are it could mostly be all for naught.
If they have any sort of aspirations for winning a playoff round, they need to get the heck out of that collision course with the Los Angeles Kings that they're currently on. The difference between playing the Kings (who I'd predict they'd lose to in 5, maybe 6 games at best) and the Coyotes/Wild (who they'd be legitimate favourites against) is as big as there is in this year's playoff picture, and they're surely aware of it.
Which makes their March malaise even more worrisome for Ducks fans.
[via Extra Skater]:
|5v5 Corsi Close %||52.0 (T-8th)||50.0 (14th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.18 (T-19th)||2.93 (1st)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.16 (11th)||2.07 (7th)|
|5v5 PDO||99.9 (T-14th)||102.2 (2nd)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.99 (25th)||5.53 (22nd)|
|5v4 SF/60||58.7 (4th)||52.4 (12th)|
|4v5 GA/60||4.82 (5th)||6.59 (22nd)|
|4v5 SA/60||39.7 (1st)||51.5 (19th)|