What a week from hell for the Canucks, as nearly everything that could have gone wrong in the past 7 days went, well, wrong. They took a shellacking from the Red Wings, and they then followed that up by putting forth what I’d generously call a less than stellar effort on home ice against the Phoenix Coyotes.
But of course all of that was nothing compared to the despair felt when it was announced that Ryan Kesler would be on the shelf for 4-6 weeks with a broken bone in his foot. It’s like the Canucks and their fans just got a sweet new toy to play with, were finally getting used to how it worked, only to have it taken away again. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, they in essence replaced Aaron Volpatti with Tom Sestito; a move which Don Cherry surely supports.
Needless to say, the Canucks (and their fans) could use a strong effort and two points in this nationally televised game against the defending Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday night.
Read on Past the Jump for more on the Game.
Puckdrop: 7 PM PST
Radio: Team 1040
It’s not like the Canucks will be caught off guard in terms of how to continue functioning without Kesler in their lineup. As you know all too well, they trucked on in their first 12 games of the season without him. I wrote this back in the end of January – when the team stumbled out of the gate with a record of 2-2-2 – but his loss is felt most on the power play, and in the faceoff circle. That’s an issue considering that those have been two areas the Canucks have been able to hang their hats on over the past few seasons. Get well soon, Ryan.
How will the team’s lineup look for the game against the Kings? Below is how Daily Faceoff, a source which I use all of the time for these sorts of things, has it shaping up:
Let’s get to the Kings, who have turned things around recently. Some people have been surprised by this, for whatever reason, mostly stemming from the fact that they believe that advanced stats are the devil. Let me direct you to an article from February 15th, when the Kings had a record of 4-5-2. I posed as the wise Thomas Drance for the day, and answered 4 questions for the LA Kings’ team site.
One of them asked "is it time for Kings fans to panic?" I essentially stated that it wasn’t, because they were a dominant possession team who was doing tons of things right, but were just getting unlucky. I preached patience, and believing in the process. Voilà.
If you’d like a laugh, check out the comments section at the bottom of that post. Hook, line, and sinker.
The Kings come into this one on a five game winning streak, but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that 3 of those victories came against Northwest Division opponents. When the Canucks beat them, they can thank their lucky stars that they’re in such a miserable division. But when the Kings beat them, they’re REGAINING THEIR FORM! That’s a topic for another day, though.
PS: Cory Schneider is in net tonight, in case that sort of things interests you.
|PP%||15.5% (21st)||17.7% (13th)|
|PK %||81.5% (16th)||79.7% (20th)|
|FO %||51.3% (8th)||49.2% (21st)|
|Corsi Close %||61.6% (1st)||54.1% (4th)|
|Fenwick Close %||60.3% (1st)||53.9% (5th)|
|Team PDO||101.4 (9th)||102.1 (7th)|
Game Day Links:
- The Tale of the Tape brought to you by the Canucks’ team site.
- A report on Kevin Bieksa, who is back at practice.
- Jason Botchford, doing Jason Botchford things; on Tom Sestito, and Aaron Volpatti.
- Kings players say complimentary things about Dan Hamhuis and call Kevin Bieksa annoying.
- Our pals at Jewel’s from the Crown offer their game preview.