I’m sure that Mike Smith will make himself the centre of attention, yet again.
After taking care of business against the hated Toronto Maple Leafs on Pavel Bure’s special night, the Vancouver Canucks have been rewarded with a 4-game trip out west to take on the Coyotes, Sharks, Ducks, and Kings. Those teams have a combined 41-13-5 redcord, which is the reason the 10-5-1 Canucks are only good for 4th place in the Pacific at the moment.
The next 5 games – including another meeting against the Sharks when they return home from the trip – will surely tell us quite a bit more about where this team stands in relation to its contemporaries. The team responded admirably to the adversity it faced during its Eastern trip, but I don’t need to tell you that this is a whole ‘nother animal.
No it’s literally a different animal.. it’s a Coyote. Read on past the jump for a look at tonight’s game.
Puck Drop: 6:00 PM PST
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
Projected lineup for tonight’s game via Daily Faceoff.
As you may’ve gathered from that look at the lineup, there aren’t really any changes to discuss in particular. Well, except for Darren Archibald making his way up to the 3LW spot to replace Jeremy Welsh. That makes more sense on 2 levels: a) I want Archibald playing more (and with better players) than Welsh anyways, and b) Welsh can play center, so playing him with Sestito and Weber makes more sense than having three guys running around out there like chickens with their heads cut off.
I would like to take this time to once again point out how good that 2nd line of Higgins-Santorelli-Burrows was against the Leafs on Saturday, and how good the Bieksa/Stanton pairing has been all season. Now that I’ve made sure to point those two things out, I’m sure one of them will struggle in this one making me look like the ultimate jinx. Whatever.
Finally, for whatever it’s worth the Canucks have only ran this 4-team gauntlet once since ’06, and it was back in ’11, when they beat the Kings 3-1, the Ducks 3-0, the Yotes 4-3 in overtime, and the Sharks 5-4 in a shootout.
Here’s a look at the lineup we can expect to see from the Phoenix Coyotes in this one:
I’m sure that the Sedins/Kesler will see a ton of everyone’s sexy pick for the Norris, Oliver Ekman-Larsson and his partner Zbynek Michalek in this one. Wherever the Canucks top line goes, those guys won’t be far behind I’d imagine.
The Coyotes opened the bank to bring Mike Ribeiro in this past summer as a free agent, in an attempt to provide more offense. He only has 10 points on the year, but the Coyotes as a whole are a completely different type of team than you’d probably envision them being based on their track record. They’ve got 3 legitimate lines that they can roll out there, and their defense has done a good job of chipping in on the offensive end.
As a result they score the 4th most goals per game, and they give up the 6th most. In fact, they’re giving up a rather steep 35.5 shots on goal against/game this season, and have heavily relied on Mike Smith to hold the fort. In his most recent outing Smith stopped 48/50 shots against the Sharks, getting his team the victory. He’s a total diva back there, but I’m a huge fan of his puck stopping abilities. When he gets going he can really be a beast you want no part of.
Years ago ESPN’s Bill Simmons introduced the idea of the "Lindsay Hunter All-Stars", who were essentially athletes with names that make them sound like hot girls. I dare you to find a more qualified member than Lauri Korpikoski. Go ahead, give it a shot, but chances are that you won’t be able to.
|PP||5/52 (28th)||11/56 (14th)|
|PK||48/55 (3rd)||48/59 (16th)|
|Fenwick Tied %||51.4% (14th)||47.8% (19th)|
|Corsi %||51.9% (8th)||47.9% (24th)|
|PDO||100.7 (15th)||101.8 (8th)|
GAME DAY LINKS
- Tale of the Tape for tonight’s game. [via CDC]
- Ryan Stanton and Kevin Bieksa have been a fantastic pairing thus far. [via Canucks Army]
- An awesome Pavel Bure tribute video. [via Pass it to Bulis]
- Remember Newell Brown? Well, he has been running the PP for the Coyotes. [Ben Kuzma]
Defense in the Desert – You get 3.50-to-1 odds that the Canucks will win in a low scoring game (under 5.5 total goals). I’m not sure I necessarily love this one given the types of high scoring games the Coyotes have played in thus far this season.
Howling Henrik – You get $6.75 for every $1 you wager if Henrik Sedin scores in a Canucks victory. He has failed to light the lamp in the past 5 games, so it’s certainly possible that he’s due for one.
Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.