Game #17 Preview: Duck Season!

In their last visit to Anaheim, Kesler and the Canucks blanked the Ducks.
Can they do it again against a struggling Anaheim team?
(Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #17 – Canucks @ Ducks

The Vancouver Canucks are stickin’ in SoCal as they wrap up their six-game road trip against the Anaheim Ducks in the second half of back-to-back nights. The Ducks are reeling mightily right now, but one thing is certain whenever the Ducks and Canucks play each other.

We are in for one weird game tonight.

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 7:30 PM PT

TV: SN-PAC Radio: Team1040

The Setup

Much like the Los Angeles Kings last night, the Ducks’ biggest problem is their scoring depth. Right now, they have only four players with 4 goals or more – Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. Their next highest goal scorer… Francois Beauchemin. Eeeep.

Defensively, the Ducks are pretty much in the same boat as the Canucks, in that they’re doing especially well, but they aren’t terrible. The Ducks and Canucks are virtually tied in GA/game, and just like the Canucks, their biggest problem is their defence at even strength, allowing 31 goals in 15 games (compared to the Canucks 34 GA at ES in 16 GP). On the blueline, the teams are pretty identical. Given the comparison of the two lineups, that says quite a bit about how poorly the Canucks have been at even strength this year so far.

So they’re pretty much equal on defence. Not so much up front. Not at all.

The Ducks are DFL in goals per game with a paltry 1.9, with the slight majority of their goals coming in the first period. In the final 40 minutes through 15 games this season, the Ducks have managed just 16 goals combined. Their issues are not focused on a particular area of their game. Their offense in general just isn’t firing. They are in the bottom 5 in even strength goals, and the bottom 8 in power play goals (even with the venerable power play sniper Selanne). It’s been real tough finding goals in Anaheim lately.

That said, games between the Ducks and Canucks always turn into bizarre affairs, and sometimes quite high-scoring. The one game that always comes to mind is the Hallowe’en game three seasons ago, that ended in a 7-6 shootout win for the Canucks. Later that same season, they were in Vancouver and played to a 6-5 shooutout loss. Two seasons ago, the Ducks trounced the Canucks 7-2. But the Canucks won their final meeting 5-4 in another shootout. Last season, three of their four meetings saw the teams combined for 7 goals or more.

The Ducks are in a bad spot right now. The’ve lost 6 in row, and have lost 3 in a row at home. They just can’t score. In these six consecutive losses, they’ve scored 0, 1, 4, 1, 0, and 2 goals respectively. So that’s 8 goals in six games, and half those goals came in one game, which they still lost.

**GAME NOTES** – It appears Cory Schneider will start tonight’s game, as anticipated. His last start in Anaheim was the Canucks last game at Honda Center – a 3-0 shutout. Burrows is still doubtful, as there is no indication yet that he’ll play. Burrows skated this morning with Schneider and the healthy scratches so it looks like Burrows might wait until Sunday’s game in Vancouver against the Islanders to return to action.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Turn this into a run-and-gun game. The Canucks haven’t had any problems scoring goals, and have good depth to provide three lines that can potentially score, along with some offensive output from the defence. For crying out loud, their goal scorers last night were Sami Salo, Andrew Ebbett and Aaron Rome. AND THEY WON. The Ducks have four forwards who can score. Period. They are essentially a one-line team plus Selanne. If the Canucks play loose tonight and turn this into a goal battle, they’ve got more way ammo than the Ducks.
  2. Keep it up for 60 minutes. It’s the last game of the road trip. You’re returning home after this. You want to close out with a solid effort. The Ducks tend to fade badly after the first period. If the Canucks can come out tied after the first, and they keep their effort up through the final 2 periods, they should be able to drive this game to victory.
  3. Please, please, please do something (ANYTHING!) about Teemu Selanne. He is the very definition of a Canuck Killer. In 68 GP, Selanne has 38G, 43A for 81 Pts, including 20 PPG. That is straight-up, bat-sh*t insane. Granted, Getzlaf has 22 points in 23 GP against Vancouver, Perry has 19 Pts in 22 GP, and Ryan has 15 Pts in 13 GP. So it seems pretty obvious what the Canucks need to do. They have FOUR guys to check on this team. FOUR. DO YOUR JOB, CANUCKS DEFENCEMEN.

The Links

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

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Booth puts Richard’s hit behind him (The Province)
  3. Canucks look to carry momentum against floundering Ducks (Vancouver Sun)
  4. Canucks wrap up six-game road trip with visit to Anaheim (TSN)
  5. Canucks visit struggling Ducks (CBC Sports)