Game #38 Preview – Pucking Ducks

My clever play on "Peking Duck" above will probably fall completely flat.
Much like the Anaheim Ducks have done in the past 19 games, as evidenced in this photo.
"I’m supposed to WHAT? BACK check?! Oh! Ok, got it. Oh, wait. He’s gone already."
(Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #38 – Canucks @ Ducks

The Vancouver Canucks slugged and duked it out with the San Jose Sharks last night in the Bay Area, and are rewarded with a game in Anaheim. The Ducks are terrible and have been terrible all season. The Canucks are rolling and have proven that they can win on the road against the elite teams of the league. So it’s guaranteed win night for the Canucks, right?

That usually means it’s a guaranteed loss.

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Broadcast Info

Game Time: 7:00 PM PT

TV: RSN-PAC Radio: Team1040

The Setup

The Vancouver Canucks don’t beat the league’s cupcakes. No no. They lose to them. Columbus. Carolina. Anaheim earlier this year. All on the road… all losses. Sure, they beat Columbus twice earlier in the year. Sure, they just beat the NY Islanders and Edmonton (now that the Oilers have fallen back down to Earth). But those games were at home. It seems as though the Canucks can draw enough inspiration and motivation from the home crowd to play up against the lesser lights in the league. But when the team hits the road and they go a-travellin’, they just don’t find the will to win against teams they should rightfully destroy.

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The Ducks are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. Since their last game against Vancouver, which the Ducks won 3-2 on November 11, the Anaheim Ducks are 3-13-3. That’s 9 points out of a possible 38. 3 Wins in 19 games. In a month and a half, the Ducks have absolutely vanished from the Western Conference standings. Now look at what the Canucks have done since that game. The Canucks have played 20 games since that 3-2 loss to Anaheim, going 15-5-0. That’s 10 games over .500. And look at their record right now. They’re 11 games over .500. So that means that everything that they’ve done to get themselves back near the top of the Western Conference standings has happened since November 11. The Anaheim win over the Canucks actually put the Ducks one point AHEAD of the Canucks in the standings at that time.

What a difference six weeks makes.

Game Notes

Cory Schneider is expected to get the start in goal tonight, on the second half of back-to-back games. Other than that, the Canucks are likely to ice the same lineup and lines as last night. Chris Higgins has been released from hospital for treatment for his infection, but obviously won’t play tonight. There is a very small chance that he will join the team for their game in LA on Saturday. Saku Koivu is doubtful for the Ducks tonight, and Jason Blake is still out.

The Three Keys

Here are the three keys for the Vancouver Canucks tonight:

  1. Put your foot down on these guys’ throats. There is no way that the Ducks should have any business in this game. The Canucks have a 65 point advantage in goal differential on the Ducks. SIXTY-FIVE!!!! This game should be a mercy killing. The Canucks have to find SOME sort of motivation and inspiration to beat a terrible team on the road. After playing such a hard-fought battle last night, maybe they just need to drink a crapload of energy drinks before tonight’s game. Or some Mars bars. Or a mountain of cocaine. Y’know… whichever. Whatever’s easiest to get your hands on.
  2. Fill the net and light the lamp. The Ducks defence and goaltending has been horriawful this year. And they’re the lowest scoring team in the Western Conference. The Canucks should just turn this into a game of shinny. First team to 10 goals wins. Do it. I know, I know. That’s completely easier said than done. But again, there is no reason why the Canucks shouldn’t score at least 5 on the Ducks tonight. They’ve given up 54 goals in 17 homes games already this year.
  3. Get the first goal and the lead after the 1st period. The Ducks are one of only 3 teams that has not come back to win a game after trailing at the end of the first period (0-11-1), and are miserable when they give up the first goal (1-14-2). Get the Ducks playing from behind and you’ll leave them in your rearview mirror.

The Links

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

  1. Tale of the Tape (Vancouver Canucks)
  2. Schneider gets the Duck call (Vancouver Sun)
  3. Canucks go for third straight win against Ducks (TSN)
  4. First-place Canucks visit lowly Ducks (The Score)
  5. Canucks spreading wealth during resurgence (CBC Sports)