Last time out, Taylor Hall had his way with the Canucks en route to a quick hat-trick.
I guess you could say the two teams going up against each other at Rogers Arena on Thursday night are heading into the game going in different directions. Which to me, is funny, because the team that has their fans feeling pessimistic has earned 5 points more than the one that has their’s suddenly feeling cocky, through the same number of games, despite missing a whole whack of key pieces. It’s all about perception and expectations…
The Vancouver Canucks and Edmonton Oilers – the two squads I was referring to in the paragraph above, obviously – do battle for the fourth time this season. You’ll note that the game starts 30 minutes later than the usual start time for home games (7:30 PM PST); it’s Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon night!
More on what should be a good game just after the jump.
Puck Drop: 7:30 PM PST (*)
Television: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
Radio: Team 1040
The Canucks probably don’t look as different heading into this game as many of you had hoped they would, but it’s not for a lack of effort on their part. By all accounts they were serious players in trades involving Ryane Clowe (actually had the better offer, but likely dodged an unfortunate contract extension bullet when he chose New York), Raffi Torres, and Roberto Luongo (it’s sounding more and more like the Leafs just flat-out did not have any intentions on really acquiring him).
Back to the perception thing we discussed before. If the team had made the Derek Roy trade just moments before the buzzer on Wednesday afternoon, everyone would be ecstatic. But instead they got their work out of the way early on, and everyone is taking the mindset of "what have you done for me lately?!" Let’s keep things in perspective. The Canucks are a substantially better team today than they were on Monday night in San Jose. Plus, according to reports more reinforcements could be on the way soon; Kesler, Weise, Raymond and Ballard were all on the ice this morning.
Speaking of Derek Roy, he figures to start his Canucks career centering the 2nd line of Chris Higgins and Jannik Hansen. That means that we’ll see Alex Burrows back up with the twins, as the Nicklas Jensen experiment is at least put on hold for now. Zack Kassian is back after his conditioning/disciplinary stint in Chicago, which is a welcome sight. He’ll be starting out somewhere in the bottom six, in case you were wondering.
Finally, let’s all wish Roberto Luongo a happy 34th birthday! For his gift from Alain Vigneault, he’ll get to ride some pine as Cory Schneider starts for the 9th straight game. Schneider will be looking to make up for a disastrous outing last time out in Edmonton. If you’ll recall, he was pulled rather quickly after letting the first 2 shots by the Oilers get past him. It’s really the only blemish for him during this stretch.
There’s no doubting the fact that the Oilers are playing some good hockey right now, because they are; they’ve outscored the opposition 25-7 during their 5-game winning streak. I will point out however that they feasted (hah, get it!) on the Calgary Flames in their last two games, and well, those should really only count as 1/2 wins or something. Regardless they’re currently sitting in the 8th spot in the West (the Blues still have two games in hand on them), and could find themselves within 3 points of the Northwest Division lead by the end of the night. It’s kind of fun having them be relevant, and having games against them late in the season mean something. I’m personally welcoming it. Though of course I’m also hoping they suffer a vintage Sedin-twin beatdown on Thursday night…
|PP %||23.8% (3rd)||12.8% (29th)|
|PK %||84.5% (7th)||81.1% (16th)|
|FO %||45.5% (30th)||47.1% (28th)|
|Corsi %||44.0% (30th)||52.9% (5th)|
|Fenwick Close %||45.3% (28th)||53.4% (7th)|
|Team PDO||100.0 (17th)||100.8 (9th)|