Canucks Army GDT #8 – Canucks @ Sabres

The jury is still out on the winner of the Mogilny-Hodgson trade

Tonight is Game 2 of the 7-game roadtrip, taking place in Buffalo, the hometown of a certain one-time Vancouver Canucks prospect. Not to spend too much time on this deal (I’d rather not) but I recognize it’s a big story today. I have the same opinion of the trade as I did back in the spring of 2012—the return was underwhelming for the price. Mike Gillis cashed in his overpriced stock, Cody Hodgson, and took on another overvalued commodity in return in the form of one of the dozens of ‘next Milan Lucic’ players populating hockey.

“The Buffalo Sabres are 4-1-0 in their last five games against the Vancouver Canucks” so says the preview, which can’t be particularly useful information. Both teams have just 11 players from their last game against one another on the active roster and each of them has a player that happens to be suspended. One of the games in that stretch of five is from January of 2007, a game that saw the Canucks get goals from Taylor Pyatt, Jan Bulis and Markus Naslund while Jason Pominville, Paul Gaustad and Chris Drury scored for the Sabres. 

Basically, recent records against Eastern Conference teams are even more useless than they normally are. Assisting on that Bulis goal, by the way, Josh Green and Rory Fitzpatrick.


Puck Drop: 4 PM Pacific

TV: Sportsnet Pacific 


Here’s another change between the two teams from the last time they played: the Canucks remained kinda good in a mediocreish way. They haven’t improved, but they haven’t gotten a whole heck of a lot worse. The Sabres have become quite possibly the worst team in the NHL, with just one win to speak of so far this season, and it came in the shootout. Rumours have already popped up about the Sabres moving their two best players, and they lost six straight to start the season. 

Even worse? The team is 1-5-1 and their PDO is 98.0, which is unsustainably low, but probably not a good sign. Ryan Miller and Jonas Enroth have teamed up to stop .938 of shots at even strength, while the forwards have hardly come through this season, converting on just 4.3% of opportunities. As the shooters go, presumably the saves will stop coming. Thomas Vanek is the only Sabre with more than one goal to his name. Dark days in Buffalo. 

Basically, a total trap game.

As Thom pointed out on Twitter, the Canucks team save percentage is pretty low to start the season as well. Something’s gotta give, unless the Sabres plan on not taking a whole lot of shots at even strength. That is another distinct possibility.

Per Sportsnet, here are the Canuck lines:

Chris Higgins – Henrik Sedin – Ryan Kesler
Daniel Sedin – Mike Santorelli – Jannik Hansen
Zack Kassian – Jordan Schroeder – David Booth
Dale Weise – Brad Richardson – Tom Sestito


Guess so.

This could be a pain for Mike Santorelli if the twins end up being split, since as a centreman, he won’t get to play with Henrik Sedin. Still, John Tortorella has been known to resort to the blender midway through games and it’s not like these lines are set in stone. Higgins with Kesler and Henrik is a novel first line idea and the trio looked pretty good in limited time together against Philadelphia. The unit was +6 in Corsi when they were put together midway through the third period and scored the tying and winning goals.

Maybe there’s something there. There probably is.

On defence, it’s the same ol’:

Jason Garrison – Kevin Bieksa
Dan Hamhuis – Chris Tanev
Ryan Stanton – Yannick Weber

Last game of Alex Edler’s suspension. Make it count, Yannick.

The Sabres lineup, meanwhile, is a real who’s who of who’s that. Per dailyfaceoff:

Kind of wish Daily Faceoff would use the alternate sweaters for this, so we could see the blue backs for most of these players, and the gold front for Johan Larsson. The Sabres were even able to screw up an alternate-retro sweater, with unfortunate silver piping, a too-dark shade of navy, and numbers on the front of the sweater.

Patrick Kaleta is out to suspension. Zemgus Girgensons is out after getting hit in the face. I’m pretty sure Mikhail Grigorenko had better linemates back in junior. Doubt he came over to North America with aspirations of playing with the biggest thug in the National Hockey League.

The defence is a LITTLE better:

Christian Ehrhoff – Mark Pysyk
Henrik Tallinder – Tyler Myers
Mike Weber – Rasmus Ristolainen 

At least a casual observer of hockey has probably heard of three of these guys. Tyler Myers has been really bad since he won the Calder Trophy and signed his big second contract. The Sabres have out-shot the opposition 83-76 with Ehrhoff on the ice, and have been out-shot 81-132. Yes… Ehrhoff has played 38.5% of his team’s 5-on-5 minutes per Extra Skater and the team has taken more shots on goal in those 142 minutes he’s on the ice than the 231 minutes he’s not.

Christian Ehrhoff is pretty good. Also a fun fact (it is early going, but I want to put to bed the possibility that a second Buffalo defenceman is doing a great job) is that Mark Pysyk has a 51.3% Corsi rate with Ehrhoff, and a 41.2% Corsi rate without him


I can’t think we’ve played enough games for any of these to mean anything but I guess I’m required by law to do this:

  Canucks Sabres
Record 4-3-0 1-5-1
Goal Differential -2 -10
Faceoff % 51.1% 45.1%
PP 10.0% 10.3%
PK 91.3% 84.6%
Fenwick Tied % 50.0% 39.2%
Corsi % 50.4% 44.1%
PDO 98.7 98.0

It’s also unlikely that we’ll ever play enough games for “Faceoff %” to mean anything.

via and Hockey Analysis



Two specials on the table tonight…

Winning the Trade: Zack Kassian must score a goal in a Canucks win. This is priced at $7. Zack Kassian has scored a goal every 7-8 games in his NHL career, so this is priced somewhat appropriately. I guess you have to hope that John Tortorella gives Kassian a lot of ice-time against his old team in an attempt to jump-start him.

Buckets of Goals in Buffalo: Combine for 5.5 or more goals and win. Basically, this means the Canucks have to put at least four past Ryan Miller (a 3-2 win wouldn’t win the bet—only 4-3 would), who has been nails this season for the Sabres. In the short term, goalies are very hard to predict and with the amount of shots the Sabres allow the bet priced at $3 makes it pretty tempting. Miller has allowed 4 or more 15 of 45 times, so, again, a well-priced bet.

Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code “CANUCKSARMY” to receive $25 worth of free bets.


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