Will Daniel Sedin put a cap on his terrific season by locking up the Art Ross trophy tonight?
Game Day Recon #82 – Canucks @ Flames
The Vancouver Canucks close out their regular season on the road, as they travel to Calgary to face the Flames. Don’t look for the Canucks to be very physical. All they want to do is stay healthy, and maybe pad some stats. But mostly… stay healthy.
Did I mention that they need to stay healthy? Because they need to stay healthy.
Game Time: 7:00 PM PT
The Calgary Flames have nothing on the line tonight, having been eliminated from playoff contention earlier this week. The Vancouver Canucks have nothing on the line tonight, having clinched the President’s Trophy several games ago. This is a stat-padding type of game. As a result, both teams are starting their backup goalies. Cory Schneider gets the start tonight, in order to ensure that he plays in the minimum number of games (25) required to qualify for Jennings’ trophy consideration. Henrik Karlsson gets the start for Calgary, as coach Brent Sutter says that #1 goalie Miikka Kiprusoff is "not feeling 100%".
For Vancouver, the main stat on which they are focusing is Daniel Sedin’s point total. Daniel currently sits on top of the NHL’s point race with 102 points, five points ahead of Corey Perry, and six points clear of Martin St. Louis. Daniel does have a pretty healthy lead, and it would take a formidable effort for either Perry or St. Louis to pass him in the points race. By the time tonight’s Canucks game starts, St. Louis will have already played his final game of the season, against the defensively stingey Nashville Predators, so it’s unlikely that St. Louis would get 7 points to pass Daniel. Tomorrow, Perry and the Ducks have a key playoff positioning battle against their SoCal rival Los Angeles Kings. Again, Perry will be in tough to collect 6 points to pass Daniel, but you never know. Perry has been on fire lately so anything is possible.
The big story for the Canucks and their lineup is that they will finally have their six best defensemen on the ice for the first time this season… in the LAST game of the season. The good news is that their soldiers like Tanev and Alberts and Rome and Oberg (who’s no longer a part of the organization) and Sauve have all filled in admirably. Now it’s time for the big guns to go to work, and just at the right time.
The Three Keys
Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:
1. Once again, stay healthy. As they finally have their top 6 D back in the lineup, they need to ensure that they don’t go limping off the ice. This is more applicable to the forwards, who will start without Malhotra (eye) and Torres (suspension). They can ill-afford to lose another forward to injury to go into the playoffs.
2. Get Daniel the puck. Let’s get the guy some insurance points. Remember in the final game last season when the Canucks played the Flames, and the Sedins went OFF? Yeah that was awesome. Do that again.
3. Watch out for Tim Jackman. Seriously. While the Canucks have utterly dominated the Flames this season, Jackman has had a GREAT year against the Canucks. In 5 GP against Vancouver this year, Jackman has 4G 1A for 5 Pts and is +3. While Iginla has 4A for 4Pts against the Canucks, he’s also a -4. For whatever reason, Tim Jackam has been a force against the Canucks. So watch out for him again.
Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:
1. Tale of the Tape: Canucks @ Flames (Canucks.com)
2. Canucks set to prep for playoffs against Flames (The Province)
3. Canucks D-lighted with team effort on blue line (Vancouver Sun)
4. Flames and Canucks wrap up schedule (CBC Sports)
5. Flames Nation (FlamesNation) << SEE WHAT THE ENEMY HAS TO SAY!