Canucks are looking to even up the season series tonight. And also punch the Blues. (Photo – theprovince.com)
Game Day Recon #62 – Blues @ Canucks
The Blues bring two new teammates into town, both of whom are no strangers to the Vancouver Canucks. When Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk played for the Avs, they saw a lot of the Canucks, probably a little too much. So now they’ll hope they’re on the winning side of the scoresheet against the Canucks for once this season.
Game Time: 7:00 PM PT
What the Canucks need right now is some consistency, and evening the season series with the St. Louis Blues would be a great place to start. For the past 8 games, the Canucks have alternated wins and losses. They’ve also alternated wins an losses with the Blues this season. But the good news for the Canucks is that they lost their game (vs Montreal) and their last game vs St. Louis. So given that they’re alternating wins, a win is certainly on the docket. And in all three games between the Canucks and Blues this season, the victor has scored a mere 3 goals. So we certainly shouldn’t expect a 8-6 game between these two teams.
And we should also expect that the team who scores first will win the game. Neither team has been especially good at winning when coming from behind and retaking a lead, especially against each other.
The Canucks may not have much to worry about with new additions Stewart and Shattenkirk as neither has faired very well against the Canucks this year. They have combined for 3 A and -3 in 4 games while with the Avs. But that isn’t much better than the Sedins have done against the Bues this year (more on that later). Danny and Hank are 1st and 3rd respectively in total league scoring. Yet they have been positively stifled by St. Louis this year. So tonight is a night where the Sedins have to act like league leaders and dominate this game, from start to finish.
Finally, Ty Conklin gets the start in net tonight for the Blues, while Cory Schneider goes for the Canucks. Yes, folks, it’s a battle of the backups. Conklin has reasonable numbers against the Canucks in his career, going 3-3-0 with a 2.82 GAA and a .909 Sv%. But he is having a ROUGH year going, 7-5-3, 3.11 GAA, .884 Sv%. And his stats are even worse on the road, at 3-4-3, 3.17 GAA and 0.884. Schneider, however, is playing his first career game against St. Louis tonight but he’s been stellar at home, at 4-1-1 and a 2.67 GAA and .900 Sv%. While his individual numbers are spectacular, he is getting some terrific run support. In all six of his starts, the Canucks have scored at least 3 goals, and have scored 5 or more three times. This bodes VERY well for the Canucks against the Blues this year, where the winner has scored 3 goals every time.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Score first. The Canucks have shown that they just are NOT doing well when they are down after the first period. So the Canucks need to come out hard and fast, and learn a lesson from their loss against Montreal. They need to score at least two goals to get this game in their favour early. At the VERY least, they need to keep the Blues off the board first.
2. Stop Alex Steen! The son of former Winnipeg Jets great Thomas Steen is on fire against the Canucks this year. In three games this year, the junior Steen has 4 goals and 1 assist and +2 and 13 SOG. Just man-handle him and knock him down.
3. The Sedins HAVE to exert their force tonight. The Sedins have only combined for 1G and 1A in three games against the Blues this year, and is a big reason why the Canucks are 1-2-0 against St. Louis this year.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Blues @ Canucks (canucks.com)
2. Canucks Gameday against St. Louis (The Province)
3. Raymond willing to try anything to bust scoring slump (The Province)
4. Luongo gives way to Schneider against Blues (CBC Sports)
5. Canucks vs Blues Preview (CBS Sports/AP)