Game #14 Preview: Ellllliiooottttttttttt

Danny had the Blues skating in circles in one game last season. One.
It’s time for the Sedins to control a game against St. Louis.
(Photo by Mark Buckner/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #14 – Canucks @ Blues

In their last meeting, Blues goalie Brian Elliott played out of this world, leaing his team to a 3-0 win at Rogers Arena. Tonight, the Canucks look to put a big loss in Minnesota in their rearview mirror and take a moonlit bike ride to victory.

While riding in a wicker basket. Wearing an oversized hoodie.

But I digress… OH! Right. Onto the Canucks game!

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 5:00 PM PT

TV: SN-PAC Radio: Team1040

The Setup

The Vancouver Canucks got their peckers slapped last night. Pure and simple. If not for the heroics of Cory Schneider, the Wild may have out up a 10-spot. Well, there is no rest for the terrible, as the Canucks move straight on to St. Louis to face the Blues in the second game in back-to-back nights.

And I’m going to guess that the Vancouver Canucks are gonna be some kid of cranky, after being thoroughly embarrassed by a division rival. That said, it isn’t an NHL season until the Canucks get shelled in Minnesota. So now that they have that predictable loss out of the way, the Canucks need to roll on to the rest of the season. If you recall last season, the Canucks were soundly thrashed in Chicago 7-1 by the Blackhawks. At that point in the season, the Canucks had just come off a 6-game winning streak but were sent back down to Earth with a quickness with their third straight loss, and a spanking at that. The following game, against St. Louis, saw a MUCH better effort yet they still ended up losing 3-2. After that loss to St. Louis, the Canucks went on a magic run, losing only once in regulation in 22 games.

Well if history repeats itself, that wouldn’t be so bad. Except that means I’m predicting a close low-scoring loss tonight. Given the way St. Louis plays, and given the Canucks recent history against the Blues, that’s actually a pretty safe bet. But the Canucks made no doubt that they were disgusted in their play last night. And if I’m the St. Louis Blues, I have to expect the Canucks to come out angry.

And one other way the Canucks are going to get angry? The Blues are going to honour the World Series Champions St. Louis Cardinals before tonight’s game. Just to remind the Canucks of their own failure in the most recent NHL championship series. That’s nice. Salt. Wound. Pour.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Forget about last night. Like waking up in the morning in a strange woman’s bed, the Canucks have to get the hell out of Minnesota, and forget that it ever happened. Luckily the Canucks have virtually no time to dwell on last night’s loss. A 24-hour turnaround gets the Canucks back on the ice to hit the reset button pretty much immediately. From a scheduling standpoint, this is the best tonic to cure what clearly ailed them last night.
  2. Own this game 5-on-5. The Canucks have been getting their hats handed to him at even strength. It was true last night, and it was certainly true against St. Louis in their first encounter this year. Regardless of what their chance counts have been at 5-on-5, the Canucks are 0.85 F/A Goals at 5-on-5. Pretty simple – that means they’re being outscored at even strength. And scoring isn’t the problem. It’s the defence. The Canucks are 27th in goals-against at even-strength. When you have Bieksa, Hamhuis, Edler, Salo and Ballard… that’s a big goddamn problem.
  3. Keep the defensive game SIMPLE tonight. The Canucks need all five players getting back tonight. There are no exceptions to this. The d-men also need to make the simple, smart play every time. No risks tonight. They HAVE to get their game on track in their own zone and the best way to do is to return to (and rely upon) fundamental, basic defensive hockey. One to two passes and out. Along the boards. Crisp, hard passes. When it doubt, GET IT OUT. HARD. AND FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, CAN SOMEONE PLEASE KEEP AN EYE ON ALEX STEEN!?!?!?

The Links

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

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Blues, Canucks providing goalies with little support (CBC)
  3. Stewart off to slow start for Blues (STL Today)
  4. Canucks aim to get back on track against Blues (TSN)
  5. Canucks/Blues Preview (Yahoo! Sports)