Game Day Recon #15 – Canucks @ Senators
After spending a solemn morning in the nation’s capital, the Vancouver Canucks look to get back in the win column as they face the Ottawa Senators tonight. The Canucks started their road trip on a rather flat note, losing to the Canadiens 2-0 on Tuesday. The Canucks opposition sees a big change tonight, as goaltender Brian Elliott sits with an injury and Pascal LeClaire returns between the pipes.
The Vancouver Canucks cancelled their morning game-day skate, opting instead to take in the ceremonies at Ottawa’s National War Memorial for Remembrance Day. It was a widely lauded and classy move by the Canucks organization, and one that hopefully inspire and motivate the Canucks tonight as they return to the ice.
The Senators are a middle-of-the-road team across the board. In goals-for, goals-against, PP% and PK%, the Senators are pretty much in the middle of the pack in the NHL. They are a decent faceoff team, sitting 9th at 51.5% and are 10th in total takeaways. The Canucks will find difficulties i nthe 2nd period against a Senators team that has already scored 18 goals in the middle frame.
Where the Senators struggle is giveaways, where they are 4th worst in the league. The Canucks also need to exploit the Sens lacklustre home PK, which has only been 79.4% effective so far this year.
The Canucks will sit Peter Schaefer tonight, as they have recalled Mario Bliznak to replace him. Bliznak will center the 4th line and Rypien will move to the wing. Kevin Bieksa, despite battling the flu, will remain in the lineup, which means that Keith Ballard will remain a healthy scratch.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Lock down the 2nd period. The Canucks would serve themselves very well by shutting down the middle frame altogether, and getting out of that period scoreless on both sides.
2. Pester LeClaire all night long. The oft-injured goalie hasn’t played in almost a month. He will surely be somewhat off his game. If the Canucks can rattle his cage for an entire game, LeClaire will have a rough night, literally.
3. Neutralize Spezza. Jason Spezza is having a resurgent season, with 12 points in 10 games and a 56.9% winning pct in the faceoff circle. Going against Malhotra, Spezza should find challenges there, which should translate in the Canucks controlling the puck.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game.
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Senators (canucks.com)
2. The Power of perspective and privilege (Vancouver Sun)
3. LeClaire finally gets a start (Ottawa Citizen)
4. Silver Nuggets: Leclaire start tonight (Silver Seven Sens)
5. Canucks @ Senators: And the Road Becomes My Bride (Nucks Misconduct)