Why so serious, Alain?
In the lead-up to Game 3, I brought up the fact that the Canucks were dominating and possession, and that if they kept it up, they were a few bounces from getting right back into the series. I also mentioned that the Sedins and Ryan Kesler were trending upwards, as was the team’s penalty kill. All those things made me believe that – while an 0-2 hole with 2 games to play in San Jose is definitely not an ideal situation to be in – this series was far from over.
Then Game 3 happened, as the team completely unravelled in the span of a few minutes in the final frame, as San Jose blew the doors off of this series. At this point even the most delusionally optimistic fan must see the writing on the wall. Regardless, I have a difficult time seeing this team’s core group of prideful veterans letting their season end in an embarassing sweep.
When Drance asked Ray Ferraro (during his appearance on the CanucksArmy Podcast) who he’d start in net for Game 4, Ferraro, in a roundabout way, echoed those sentiments: "I would probably play Luongo. I don’t know if there is a longer term vision for that, but I get to a point here where we’re not trying to win 4 games, we’re trying to win 1. And right now Luongo has been very good in this series."
Read Past the Jump to Get Set for Tonight’s Game.
Puck Drop: 7 PM PST
Radio: Team 1040
I’d assume that if the Canucks are going to go down tonight, they’ll go down swinging with their best players. That would mean that we’ll see a ton of the Sedins, a healthy dose of Ryan Kesler, and maybe, just maybe, more Dan Hamhuis and Jason Garrison. A boy can dream, right?
This morning I wrote about how Garrison and Zack Kassian have been two of the lone bright spots in this disappointing series. Towards the end of Game 3, we saw Vigneault finally relent and send out Kassian with the Sedins on a regular basis. I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll see more of that tonight, given how much better Kassian has been than Burrows. Then again, it should have happened a long time ago, but I digress. We don’t currently have any definitive word on the line combos, but if I were coaching, I’d have Sedin-Sedin-Kassian, Higgins-Kesler-Burrows, Raymond-Roy-Hansen, Weise-Lapierre-Schroeder. It’s a shame I’m not coaching.
In net, the Canucks are once again tapping the pads of Cory Schneider, as they hope that he can rebound from his meltdown in the 3rd period of Game 3. Listen, the Canucks currently have two goalies on their roster who are studs, and give the team a realistic chance of winning every time they’re in net. I personally would’ve stuck with Luongo for Game 3, and I view that particular decision as a (slight) mistake.
But now that it’s done with, I think the only real play was to have Schneider back in there once again tonight. He’s obviously the goalie of the future, and it’s quite transparent that the team is trying to let him know that by handing the reigns over to him and giving him their full support. He’s a fine option to stop the puck tonight, but I think this has more to do with keeping an eye on the future than anything else. Then again, this could just be a case of Alain Vigneault being stubborn, and going out on his own terms.
The back-end has been a topic of much discussion in these parts, but it doesn’t sound like there will be any changes to the 6 that dressed on Sunday as Chris Tanev isn’t ready to return from injury. Kevin Bieksa missed the morning skate, but he’s most likely just resting up for tonight’s game. He’s pretty clearly being hampered by an injury right now, and while I respect the heck out of him for gutting through it, he’s a complete liability every time he’s out there. He needs to see less ice-time.
My prediction for the tonight and the rest of this series: the Canucks win tonight with a 3-1 score and extend the series another game, only to lose in a heartbreaking fashion on Thursday night as Joe Pavelski streaks down the left wing on the Rogers Arena ice and beats the Canucks in overtime.
Let me give you some recommendations heading into this one:
PICK THE WINNER. The Canucks don’t need to win the series. They just need to win 1 game, and avoid an embarrassing sweep, just as they did last year against the Kings. If you think that happens, you can more than double your money up. [PLACE YOUR BET HERE].
PLAYER v. PLAYER. Jannik Hansen and Zack Kassian are currently tied with 0 points on the series. At this point, you can get 2.25-to-1 odds that Kassian will end the series with more points. Given that he’ll probably be spending a majority of his time with the Sedins for however much longer this series goes on, that’s rather enticing. [PLACE YOUR BET HERE].
HISTORY REPEATING. If you think that the Canucks still have a chance of winning this series, you’re probably a loose cannon. But you’re also probably feeling very lucky. So why not test that luck, by placing a 66-to-1 bet on whether or not a puck goes in off the stanchion. [PLACE YOUR BET HERE]
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
- Jason Botchford epicly unloads on Alain Vigneault.
- Todd McLellan stands up for Vigneault. Of course he does.
- Tony Gallagher says that #boldmoves are needed for the Canucks to avoid aging into oblivion.
- The Canucks, for whatever reason, believe that they’re still in this thing.
- Nucks Misconduct provides you with another preview, in case you’re looking for more.
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.