Game #30 Preview: Canucks @ Coyotes

Thomas Drance
March 21 2013 01:05PM

The Canucks have been an inconsistent group this season, to put it mildly, and they've underachieved expectations through the first 29 games of this weird lockout shortened season. While the team continues to handle and outscore their opponents at even-strength, the club's special teams have been pretty mediocre and the goaltending has been surprisingly average too. 

Phoenix is in the same boat basically, except even worse. While the Canucks have fallen out of the top-slot in the Northwest, the Coyotes have fallen out of the top-8 in the West and find themselves tied with *gulp* the Columbus Blue Jackets with thirty points in thirty games. Getting quality goaltending has been a staple of Dave Tippett's over-achieving Coyotes teams in the recent past, but so far this season that hasn't showed up for the desert dogs (the Coyotes' 'tenders have an abysmal .909 sv% at even-strength). Worse has been their offensive production as the Coyotes have been shutout in four of their last five games. And you thought the Canucks had a pop gun offense.

Read on past the jump. 

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Does Alain Vigneault sit back on leads? Yes

Cam Charron
March 20 2013 07:18PM

Last night, the Vancouver Canucks nearly blew a 3-0 lead, hanging on for a 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues. They were not the only team to nearly waste such a lead.

Los Angeles had leads of 2-0 and 3-1, but Phoenix pulled to within one on both occasions. Boston lost 3-1 to Winnipeg after taking a 1-0 lead. Washington took a 1-0 advantage against Pittsburgh, but lost 2-1. Buffalo blew a late 2-goal lead against Montreal, only to win 3-2 in overtime. Columbus took a 4-1 lead over Nashville with 8 minutes left in the 3rd but hung on for a 4-3 win. The Islanders had a 3-1 lead over Ottawa, but lost 5-3.

A night earlier, Dallas had a 3-0 lead over Calgary but they pulled to 3-2. After Dallas scored a late goal to make it 4-2, the Flames eventually made it 4-3. Anaheim was up 4-1 over San Jose, but the Sharks made it 4-3 before the Ducks scored an empty net goal. That prompted this comment from fearthefin:

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Afternoon Headshots: March 20th

Patrick Johnston
March 20 2013 06:13PM

Credit Dan Fuggles for this one (seriously, click the link)

This not a family newspaper. This is the internet.

Smylosphere, you're up!

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Report: Anton Rodin Might Return to Brynäs Following this Season

Thomas Drance
March 20 2013 03:30PM

Canucks prospect Anton Rodin has skill to burn. Though injury prone, Rodin is an excellent skater with plus puck possession skills and we thought he might be poised for a breakout campaign in Chicago this season.

For whatever reason though, Rodin has continued to struggle to adjust to the North American game and has underwhelmed throughout his two seasons with the Chicago Wolves. Well now it appears that Rodin may not remain in the Canucks system for much longer. According to a report from Aftonbladet (a reliable Swedish outlet) the speedy winger is strongly considering returning to Brynäs, his SEL team, upon the expiry of his entry-level contract this summer.

Read on past the jump.

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Chris Higgins seems to really miss David Booth and Ryan Kesler

Dimitri Filipovic
March 20 2013 02:43PM

"'Till you get on my level, I don't have time for you. Later, dude."

It's no secret that the Vancouver Canucks have missed the services of their two best play-driving forwards, Ryan Kesler and David Booth, this season. The two American power forwards have combined to play just 19 games thus far this season, leaving a big void on the second line. To the surprise of no one, the Canucks have had a tough time finding the back of the net as a result. While the team has actually been able to sustain a dominant puck-possession game, but it just currently doesn't boast the offensive artillery to capitalize on it.

So we know just how much the Canucks as a team have missed them. But one player in particular has missed their services the most, and has found himself in a world of hurt as a result.

Read on Past the Jump for More. 

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