Game #18 Preview: The Lonely Island

Which Islanders goalie is this? Seriously I have no idea.
The Canucks need a much better effort that Friday in Anaheim.
(Photo by Paul Bereswill/Getty Images North America)

Game Day Recon: Game #18 – Islanders @ Canucks

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The New York Islanders have an influx of talent. They have young, budding stars, some true snipers and some potentially good goaltending (provided they all stay healthy). But all that being equal, the Isles are once again bringing up the rear of the Eastern Conference standings and have yet to win on the road.

Are the Vancouver Canucks the slumpbusting tonic that the Islanders need to get their first win on the road? Or can the Canucks put a so-so effort in Anaheim in their rearview mirror and return home ready to feast on a lame duck?

Broadcast Info

Game Time: 6:00 PM PT

TV: SN-PAC Radio: Team1040

The Setup

The Islanders have fire power. Tavares, Moulson, Grabner… they can all score and have proved it. But the Islanders sit 28th in the league in goals per game. Then again… the Ducks are in 30th and managed to pump 4 past the Canucks on Friday on route to a 4-3 win at Honda Center. The Canucks Achilles heel through 17 games has been their defence at even strength. Granted, two of the four goals they allowed against the Ducks came during a 5-minute penalty on a dubious call to Aaron Rome. But they still allowed another 2 goals at 5-on-5, and allowed all four goals in the second period.

The second period has become a riddle of epic proportions for the Vancouver Canucks in recent seasons. Firsts and thirds… not a problem. Need a comically bad period out of team that is supposed to contend for the Stanley Cup? You can count on the second period of ANY Canucks game. Many Canucks fans actually dread watching the middle stanza now, knowing that a comedy of errors, bad positional play, terrible penalties and subpar goaltending are almost assured to befall the team.The silver lining for the Canucks tonight is that the Islanders are 29th in GF in the second period with only 7 goals in 13 GP.

Canucks fans would love to see a game that erases memories of the last time the Islanders were here in Vancouver. A 5-2 loss featuring a John Tavares hat-trick. How about you do the opposite of that today, boys? How about a Kesler hat-trick? How about some strong defence at even-strength against a team that can’t score. HOW ABOUT THAT?!

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Stop playing like an AHL team in the second period. It’s just been embarrassing lately watching the Canucks flail and struggle like a baby deer on fresh ice during the middle period of most games this season. They have to compltely change their mindset after the first period and play loose and simple. Their horrible second period cost
    them the game in Anaheim, and several others this season already. Time to lock it up.
  2. Tavares, Parenteau, Moulson and Grabner. THAT’S IT. WATCH THOSE PLAYERS. They have very little in the way of scoring depth. The Canucks focus has to be on those four players… without taking stupid penalties.
  3. Make they skate. The Islanders are playing the final game of their cross-continent, three game road trip that’s taken 6 full days. It’s a weird schedule for the Isles and the Canucks would server themselves well if they put the pace up to high and got this game moving quickly.

The Links

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

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Basement-dwelling Islanders give Canucks a chance to move above .500 (The Province)
  3. Luongo to start against Islanders; Rome avoids suspension (Vancouver Sun)
  4. Canucks’ Kesler speeds along road to recovery (The Province)
  5. Canucks return home to face struggling Isles (CBC Sports)