Sharks @ Canucks: Game 2 Preview

All eyes will be on Luogno, as usual, in game 2.
Photograph by: (John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail)

It didn’t take long for the Canucks to get their backs up against the wall in the 2013 playoffs. Teams have come back from 2-0 deficits in a playoff series in the past, hell it happens every second year or so, but usually that team is the road team. Vancouver’s already lost home-ice advantage, and the outlook for this series will turn grim if the team loses again on Friday night…

If they hope to avoid that fate, they’ll need to generate more quality looks and test Niemi. The Canucks only challenged Niemi with five difficult shots on Wednesday night, a paltry number and not nearly enough, especially when you consider that none of those shots came in the third period of a tied playoff game.

Read past the jump for more.

Broadcast Info:

Puck Drop: 7 PM PST




The Sedin line was pretty much completely shutdown against the Sharks on Wednesday night, and Vancouver will be in tough if that happens again. It would be great if Alain Vigneault could get them a few additional shifts against Sharks defensive pairings that didn’t include Marc-Edouard Vlasic, but at the same time it’s on the twins to be better regardless of their matchup. Vlasic and Braun looked well prepared for the Sedins against the grain, corss-seam trickery on Wednesday night, so hopefully the Sedins can be a bit more unpredictable on Friday.

The major roster change for the Canucks will include bumping Ryan Kesler to the wing on the second line, where he’ll flank Derek Roy and Chris Higgins on the left-wing. The Canucks need to generate more offense against San Jose, and to that end I tend to like move a fair bit. Conceptually Kesler playing the wing just makes sense to me. He hasn’t been able to really drive play as a centre since his return from injury, but playing him with Derek Roy and Chris Higgins will help on that front. As a winger, Kesler can focus on just getting in and laying the body while forechecking, and look to generate chances coming off the wing with that wrist shot of his. If he’s been watching any Washington Capitals games this season, he may want to fake the wrister- and go to the backhand as Ovechkin has been doing all season if he gets the opportunity too…

With Derek Roy joining the top-six, I tend to think Vancouver’s third and fourth lines will be in tough. They played relatively well on Wednesday, but that was with Roy on the third line and Lapierre on the fourth. With those two moving up a line, more of the burden falls on guys like Mason Raymond and Andrew Ebbett who have underwhelmed for most of the season. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Vancouver’s top-six take it to the opposition while the bottom-six spends the majority of the game penned in Vancouver’s end.

The defence-pairings will remain the same, and rightly so since they played pretty well on Wednesday. It would be great if Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison could see more action, I don’t think they were sufficiently utilized on Wednesday. I’d also suggest that Corrado and Alberts should see fewer minutes on Friday night, and hopefully be a bit more exhaustively protected in terms of the matchups…

The Canucks need to score more goals and beyond bumping Kesler to the wing alongside Derek Roy, there are a couple of additional buttons that might be worth pressing if this game is close going into the latter half of the second period and the third. Vancouver’s best offensive pairing this season was Alex Edler and Jason Garrison, and Vigneault may want to consider uniting them on a pair that caddy’s the Sedin twins. Also how about putting Jason Garrison’s cannon shot on the first unit power-play? Just a thought…

The key for the Canucks tonight will be for the Sedins to play better, for the team as a whole to play more disciplined, and to not get their teeth handed to them in the faceoff circle. Even though Kesler is ostensibly lining up as a winger on Friday, expect him to take the bulk of defensive-zone draws for that line. Moving Lapierre up the lineup should help the team in the face-off circle as well.

Face-off matters, but discipline is more important, especially against the meat grinder that is the San Jose power-play. Younger players like Dale Weise and Zack Kassian in particular are going to need to check themselves and stay calm in limited minutes on Friday.

Cory Schneider is still out of the lineup so Roberto Luongo gets the start. If all else fails the Canucks will be counting on him to steal a game for them. Vancouver’s goalie kept Vancouver in the game in the first period, but he came a bit unglued in the third frame. Overall he played well enough for the team to win, but he’ll need to be better as well on Friday night.


Consider the following bets for tonight’s game:

Ryan Kesler to score the first goal at nine-to-one odds. Ryan Kesler’s line should come out buzzing on Friday, and I like his chances of opening the scoring in this one [PLACE YOUR BET HERE]. Even better, Play Now is currently offering a "Bet-Back Bonus" so if the Canucks surrender the first goal against but come back to win anyway, Play Now will refund all first scorer bet (up to $100) in game two. Seems like a worthwhile way to hedge your bet, eh? MORE DETAILS HERE.

Big Help from Bieksa. There’s a special bet tonight, priced at 6.00, that you can win if Bieksa scores a goal and the Canucks win. Bieksa has scored goals at an absurd rate all season long, and if Vancouver is looking to push the tempo on Friday you can rest assured that he’ll be aggressive in activating all game long. Also it’s worth remembering that Bieksa loves to play against the Sharks. PLACE YOUR BET HERE.

Leaning on the Tendy’s. If the Canucks win and both teams score under 5.5 goals you can win this special. Seems to me that this is a pretty safe bet to take if you already think Vancouver comes out of game two with the victory. This bet is priced out at 2.50 so PLACE YOUR BET HERE.

And don’t forget to use our special promo code and recieve $25 in betting credits at Play Now Sports. Go to this PlayNow Sports promo page, register for a PlayNow account, and insert the promo code "CANUCKSARMY" (all caps) and PlayNow Sports will give you $25 worth of "freebets."

Game Day Links


Don’t forget to play StreakCred the new playoff pool game from the Nation Network. You can win a trip for 2 to Oktoberfest in Germany among the awesome prizes up for grabs. Only $20 and a portion of the proceeds go to Edmonton Charities. SIGN UP HERE.

  • billm

    “…but he came a bit unglued in the third frame…”

    Huh? I guess it is his fault that he was screened on one goal and boxed in by two players on the other?

  • billm

    The Canucks biggest problem is they are playing to not lose rather than playing to win. It’s time for AV to loosen the reigns and let the horses run. Move Kesler on to Roy’s wing, put Schroeder between Hansen and Raymond, and for god sakes get the Sedins away from Thornton or Pavelski and get them out against some weaker competition. I know it would be a tall order to ask Schroeder/Hansen/Raymond to match up against one of SJ’s top lines but thats why the Nucks have two world class goalies. They aren’t going to win scoring 1 or 2 goals per game they have got to find a way to crank it up and a lot of that comes down to AV and his matchups he has to find a way to out coach McLellan and get the Sedins and Kesler scoring or the Canucks are done.

  • billm

    I dont think i agree with you that Edler and Garrison has been the best D pairing.

    The problem with the PP is that Edler is driving the play too often. They should just have Garrison and Corrado on PP1.. Corrado/Tanev would just tee up Garrison on their off-hands… Meanwhile Edler can roam free with Burrows, Roy and whoever on PP2.

    Also.. i did like Raymond-Schroeder-Hansen together but Raymond’s fkn useless. Its fine if you dont hit IF you score.. but he does neither.

    So why not just bench Raymond… and load up some toughness on the bottom six. We already have the Sedin line that doesnt hit.


    Let Kassian make more plays.. he’s too busy trying to set up Kesler.. If i can read it, i’m sure the Sharks can read his plays.. let the guy play more independently.. and Schroeder sees the ice very well.. but u know wat.. its going to fall on deaf ear’s cuz Coach V is not a risk taker… and well, if he doesnt pass the 1st Round.. ADIOS.

    and for gawd’s sakes, stop playing Ebbett..

  • billm

    The reason why the Canucks can’t win is because they suck, plain and simple. The have a sub par team, a subpar coach, a sub par GM, sub par scouting, sub par everything. 43 years of not winning anything says I’m correct. The worse are that their delusional fans who keep this mickey mouse team going. Why anyone would want to pay to see such an embarrassment is beyond me, you would think when you pay for something you’re supposed to get something of equal value in return..well not the Canucks, they;’ve taking sucking to an all new level on they can exceed.

    It’s play off time again and the Sedins sure enough have activated their powers of invisibility. Alex Error as usual is playing on the wrong team, Raymond and Burroughs are back to their usual ” do nothingness” This list goes on and on. If there is a any kind of winning trend or stat,leave it to the Canucks to buck it.

    I live in the city and the team is an utter embarrassment, and so are its stupid fanbase, who clog up traffic and create accidents, all so they can get to the arena faster to watch their team play like a joke. If the league took turns to win the cup, they’d have one by now, but 43 years of futility is written on the wall, and anyone who thinks otherwise is the only reason why such a bad team and management is allowed to exist and go on embarrassing themselves.

    Even Carolina has won and cup, and they grow sugar cane there. The best Canuck was Bure, and look at how they pissed him off. From Smyl to the country clubbers linden, lumme, quinn and mclean , to naslund and now the sisters, they need to be put out of their misery. They’ve become a laughing stock and a disgrace. And all theyre doing is wasting more time, year after year, day after day, living on false hope. Luongo, the team, and esp the management, once a loser always a loser. And if anyone disagrees, well 43 years of sucking proves you wrong…again…43 times later. Get ready for 44.

  • billm

    Hi Canucks players
    We are series from south Surrey team cheer for Canucks this game just for us,
    We want Canucks to win this game
    GO Canucks GO!
    Can you score just for us and we are the Biggest Canucks Fan’s to you.
    Can you Stay a way from the panelty Box just for us.
    Place get this Facebook from
    Shannon Hutchinson
    Touch me

    To Vancoucver Canucks
    From Shannon Hutchinson