With all the injuries to the Canucks D, they’re finding replacements in the oddest places. (AP Photo)
Game Day Recon #58 – Canucks @ Wild
The Canucks lost a special teams battle last night and it cost them the game. They didnt force enough turnovers and they let the Blues basically have the offensive zone. And Luongo giftwrapped a goal for Alex Steen with an absolutely bone-headed decision. All around it was a disappointing effort.
So how do they get back on track? They go to the Twin Cities to take on the Wild. Yikes.
Game Time: 5:00 PM PT
The Canucks are having a lof of trouble winning in Minnesota lately. And when they lose, they lose big. The Canucks have lost 4 in a row at Xcel Energy Center, and have been outscored 21-6. Interestingly though, before those 4 games, the Canucks had one four games in a row. But the key was that 3 of those 4 wins were by one goal.
So the key to tonight is to stay tied or hold on to a lead well into the second period. In all four of these losses, the Canucks losing at the midway point of the game.
The problem for the Canucks tonight is that the Wild don’t have one key goal scorer. They score by committee with 8 players scoring 10 or more goals, led by Cal Clutterbuck (what?!) with 17. So why do the Canucks have such a hard time stopping the Wild. Minnesota is 26th in goals scored at home with only 66, yet 10 of those 66 have been scored against the Canucks in only 2 games. That’s 15.2% of their total. The biggest problem for the Canucks has been their PK against the Wild, allowing 4 PPG in two games (plus one shorthanded). So the special teams have been an Achilles heel for the Canucks at the Xcel Energy Center.
They also might want to do something about Andrew Brunette, a career Canuck killer. In 63GP, Brunette has 18G 37A for 55 Pts and a +12 . And as always, many of his goals were assisted by Blonde and Redhead. Brunette has made a habit of scoring timely goals against the Canucks, with 2 goals in 3 games this year.
Finally, after Andrew Alberts broke his wrist in last night’s game in St. Louis (yes, another Canucks D is out again), Yann Sauve was called up today and will play against the Wild. Sauve becomes the 14th player to make his Canucks debut this season (h/t to Joey Kenward for that). Don’t believe him? Here is the lst:
Torres, Malhotra, Hamhuis, Ballard, Tambellini, Volpatti, Tanev, Perrault, Hodgson, Andersson, Parent, Sweatt, Oreskovich and Sauve.
Wow. And the Canucks are in 1st place in the league.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Keep this game close for as long as possible. The Canucks key to success is to keep the game tied until at least halfway through the game. Or better yet, get a lead early and hold it.
2. Get your special teams back on track. And cause penalties by skating and forechecking. The Canucks were far too soft on the puck too often last night in St. Louis. They need to keep the puck penned in the Wild zone far more often and hopefully force the Wild to take penalties. And my god, stop the Wild on the PK.
3. For Christ’s sake, hit somebody! The Canucks were playing flag hockey last night in St. Louis, allowing the Blues to gain entry into their zone at will. The Canucks have to be more physical with the Wild, especially when the goals come from a lot of different players. Since they can’t key in on one particular player (well, Martin Havlat would be a good start), they need to play the body
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Wild (canucks.com)
2. Canucks say Alberts’ broken wrist won’t be back-breaker (Vancouver Sun)
3. Here we go again, another injury and Sauve gets call (The Province)
4. Wild may find Canucks’ D ripe for picking (CBC Sports)
5. Game #56: Minnesota Wild vs Vancouver Canucks (State of Hockey News) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY