Sorry David Backes. This games promises to be a SPICY MEATBALL!
The St. Louis Blues make their second regular season trip to Vancouver as they face the Canucks tonight at GM Place. The Canucks has struggled this season against the Blues, who are looking to play their way back into a playoff spot before the Olympic break.
The Vancouver Canucks are 1-2-0 against the Blues this season, including an embarrassing 6-1 loss at home on November 10th. Since then, the two teams have traded away wins. While the Blues are trying to win their way back into a playoff position, the Canucks have been on a tear of late, winning 5 in a row and 7 of their last ten games. They’re also 8-1-1 in their last 10 games at home. Next to the San Jose Sharks, are the hottest team in the West.
The Blues, on the other hand, are an average 2-2-1 in their last five, but a slightly better 5-3-2 in their last 10 road games. St. Louis has been a very good road team all season, with the sixth best road record in the West. They are definitely a team where their road stats mean a lot more than their home stats.
The most striking stat for the Canucks is GF and GA in the third period. This season, the Blues have been awful defensively in the final frame, and sit in 26th in GA in the 3rd period, while the Canucks are 3rd. Meanwhile the Canucks are also 3rd in GF in the 3rd period, while the Blues are well back in 23rd position.
So the key to beating the Blues is beating them in the third period. However, the Canucks have not played well against the Blues this season, so they cannot expect or hope to simply hang on for two periods and ratchet up their game in the last period. The Blues and Canucks are equally undisciplined, as they sit 28th and 27th respectively in penalty minutes per game.
The real key to the Canucks game tonight is discipline. The Canucks have a lethal power play at home. The real test for them will be to stay out of the penalty box. They know the Blues will take penalties, so they need to keep as much of the advantage as possible.
The Canucks also need to unleash some of their firepower. In their last six games, the Blues have given up 3 goals or more in five of them. The only game where they didn’t was a 2-0 shutout win on Monday against Calgary, who sits 29th in total goals.
Canucks need to pot a few early and stay out of the box. Easy. Well, maybe not – this is the Blues who, despite their troubles this season, seem to have the Canucks’ number. Let’s hope the Canucks can’t put one more in the win column before they embark on their epic 14 game road trip, starting in the Centre of the Universe.