Game #10 Preview: Arch-Nemesis

Hey, Daniel. Could you tell you the res of the team that tonight’s home game starts at 7 o’clock.
No. SEVEN. Yeah, I know. Weird, eh?
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #10 – Blues @ Canucks

The Canucks don’t get much of an opportunity to sulk and wallow about their loss last night, as they face the St. Louis 24.5 hours after the start of their last game.

The Canucks have already have one set of back-to-back games this year. In game 1, they lost by one goal, then got shellacked in game 2 (the score line was not representative of the tilt in play). Vancouver is looking to seal a different fate tonight and maybe a return to Rogers Arena is what they need.

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 7:00 PM PT

TV: SN-VAN Radio: Team1040

The Setup

The Vancouver Canucks need to set their alarms about 90 minutes earlier than normal because they’ve been sleepwalking through the first 30 minutes of most of their games this year. Last night, in Edmonton, the Canucks waited until they spotted the Oilers a 3-spot and Luongo was yanked from the net before they showed up to play.

But they face some far more physical competition tonight in the St. Louis Blues. Maybe being physically jolted is the wake up call that the Canucks need, especially in front the home crowd. The Blues are in a similar situation as the Canucks are. They’re 4-4-0 to start the year (the Canucks are 4-4-1), they’re scoring about the same number of goals per game (VAN 2.67; STL 2.75), and they’re letting in a slightly higher number of goals per game (VAN 2.78; STL 3.00).

All that being said, I am pretty sure that Blues fans are not throwing themselves off bridges, or crucifying their goaltender. And I’m pretty sure that the editors of the Post-Dispatch are not approving editorials where they suggest that Jaroslav Halak should be shipped out of town. Canucks fans and media have a unique ability to assume the Titanic just hit an iceberg when in reality, the boat just hit a bad wave. And some point, and we all know this (Titanic anology, notwithstanding), there WILL be smooth sailing ahead.

The Canucks haven’t announced their starting goalie yet, so the Twitterati continue to debate who should start. The Blues. however, have announced their start – Brian Elliott. Elliott is currently 3-0 with a 2.06 GAA and a .935 Sv%. Great, right? Elliott is playing WAY out of his shoes right now and frankly he’s due to crash back down to Earth any moment. And the Canucks would be a great team to shoot down his missile. Against the Canucks lifetime, Elliott is 1-3 with a 2.80 GAA and a .909 Sv%. And surprisingly, his GAA and Sv% against Vancouver are actually slightly HIGHER than his career average. If the Canucks want an opposing goalie to use as a whipping boy, Brian Elliott is the perfect candidate.

As I write this, though, we learn that one of the two referees for tonight’s game will be none other than Stephane Auger. Auger, he of the bitter and bizarre encounters with Alex Burrows, refs his first game involving Vancouver since Burrows accused him of calling him out on-ice, telling Burrows he was going to exact revenge for making him look bad in an earlier game. While this may be tongue-in-cheek, Roberto Luongo may be saying a little prayer about this. With Auger vs Burrows slated to be a MAJOR storyline tonight, this could actually take some of the heat off of Luongo and the goaltending "controversy". Of course. if Luongo does play tonight and he does crap the bed, then all the reffing battles in the world won’t save Bobby Lu from the headlines tomorrow. But it’s a possible reprieve tonight.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Please show up to play 60 minutes. Please. We’re begging now because it’s getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous! The Blues are a hard-working, hard-hitting team. Another lackadaisical effort from the Canucks tonight will bury the home club quickly.
  2. To the Vancouver Canucks defence – WAKE UP! You are the primary reason the Canucks are losing games. So who am I looking at? Rick Bowness. If Bowness doesn’t shake up this defence and get them going soon, the Canucks have to seriously look at sacking him. With the amount of talent and money on the blue line right now, it’s high time that they showed their value. Very specifically, Kevin Bieksa and Dan Hamhuis. So part of the problem is the defence in general, but Hamhuis and Bieksa have to be singled out for their deplorable play so far this year. They need to get going fast. Gee… how about tonight?
  3. Get. The. First. Goal. This is beginning to sound like a broken record, isn’t it? Play 60 minutes… defence needs to play… score first… When you’re an elite team and you’re 4-4-1 to start the year and you’ve played 1 or maybe 2 solid games so far, the same problems can be easily seen from game to game. So far this year, when they score first, they’re 2-0. Wha?! Last season they were 41-2-6 when they scored first. GWAH?!?! Yeah. It is the Canucks #1 ingredient to success and they’ve only done it twice this season.

The Links

Here are your top 5 links for today’s game:

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Lapierre has the chops to back up the chirps (The Province)
  3. Luongo under fire as Canucks host Blues (CBC Sports)
  4. Canucks Look To Bounce Back with Win Against Blues (
  5. Canucks look to trump the red-hot Blues (