The Vancouver Canucks escaped from LA with a shoot-out victory last night and head up the 405 to play the Anaheim Ducks in the second half of back-to-back games in Southern California.
The Canucks face a struggling Ducks team, but will have to play much more physically against Anaheim than they did against Los Angeles.
Andrew Raycroft played a very solid game in his first start of the season, and is likely to get the nod again against the Ducks. Raycroft showed poise and calm, and the Canucks played a boring, lock-down style game to limit the Kings chances.
Their game plan against the Ducks will be very different. The Ducks are a mean, aggressive, physical team who are struggling to score. They are in the exact opposite situation as the Kings, who are young and fast with a high-powered offense.
The Ducks main problem right now is they are taking far too many penalties and not fighting through them. With the Canucks PP playing very well this season, even with the plethora of injuries they’ve suffered, Vancouver need to take advantage of this glaring weakness in the Ducks game right now.
The Canucks were bolstered by the return of both Rick Rypien and Sami Salo last night. Rypien promises to serve a key role in tonight’s game as the Ducks’ tendancy to fight is well-known. This fact also figures to bring Dacry Hordichuk back into the lineup. Vancouver also called up Mario Bliznak from the Manitoba Moose in relief of Sergei Shirokov, who was sent back to the Moose following an inspiring stint. Alex Bolduc, who suffered a shoulder injury last night, is out which will likely make way for Hordichuk to return.
The Ducks have been terrible at home so far this season, and many of the Ducks’ stars have been noticeably absent from the scoresheet. Vancouver can pounce on them as long as they take plenty of shots and keep the puck. The Canucks need to control the puck. Puck Possession is the key to the Canucks winning this game. Play keep away from the Ducks, and get the puck out of their own zone as fast as possible.