Right now, these Ducks could slot in as Anaheim’s bottom 3 defensemen.
Game Day Recon #03 – Canucks @ Ducks
After starting the season at home, the Canucks venture on their first road trip of the season as they head to southern California for two games. First stop – the Honda Center as the Canucks face the Anaheim Ducks.
The most notable lineup change for the Canucks in tonight’s game sees Rick Rypien return to the lineup, as he has recovered from a minor injury. He promises to have a prominent role, as he takes on George Parros and a bruising Ducks roster.
TV: TSN; RADIO: TEAM 1040
The Anaheim Ducks have been straight-up awful to start the year. They are 0-3-0 in their first three games, and have been outscored 13-2 in the process. Saku Koivu is the lone Ducks’ goal scorer this year as well, scoring both Anaheim goals. The top line of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan has been terrible to start the year. They have posted a COMBINED 0G 0A 0Pts and sit minus-12. Perry has also amassed 23 PIMs. While he is known as someone who can agitate and mix it up with the best of them, 23 PIMs in 3 games is outrageous, even for him.
Unfortunately, the Canucks can’t boast a much stronger offense. Their offense has come entirely from their top line of Henrik and Daniel Sedin and Mikael Samuelsson. The twins and countryman Samuelsson are still struggling to find chemistry to start the year, and Samuelsson has been struggling so far. The twins could certainly use injured linemate Alex Burrows back on their line. Burrows is the missing element for them as he agitates, finds space and goes to the dirty areas in the offensive zone. Granted they are only two games into the season, so it may only be a matter of time before they start to really roll together.
However, the Canucks are certainly doing a lot better on the defensive side of the puck. Through their first two games, Vancouver has only allowed 2 goals against. Their penalty killing has been very solid and they are playing generally sound defense. Newcomer Dan Hamhuis has been leading the way, filling the void left by Willie Mitchell.
Tonight is in fact Anaheim’s home opener, as they played their first three games on the road. That may have contributed to their slow start, and the Ducks are perennially a strong home team. But the Ducks problem right now is their total lack of depth on the blueline. Andy Sutton is now out with an injured thumb, leaving a top 4 of Paul Mara, Lubomir Visnovsky, Luca Sbisa, and rookie Cam Fowler. They are also joined by recent signee Andreas Lilja, who was released from San Jose’s training camp.
If the Canucks want success tonight, they need to jump on the Ducks early and often. They need to pressure their undermanned and inexperienced defense. If they can do that, that should help them find their swing offensively and get them into a breakout game.
The Canucks cannot let Anaheim’s return to home ice give the Ducks a boost. They need to knock the home crowd out of the game early.
Here are your Top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape – Canucks (canucks.nhl.com)
2. Game Notes – Canucks (canucks.nhl.com)
3. NHL Ducks Game Preview (ducks.nhl.com)
4. Can Home Ice heal Ducks’ Wounds? (ocregister.com)
5. NHL Preview: Canucks at Ducks (National Post)