Expect to see a whole lotta this matchup tonight.
The Canucks walk into the building that Eric Cartman and Matthew Perry built on Saturday night for a tilt against a Los Angeles Kings squad that we’re all too familiar with at this point. Just a few days ago, prior to the team embarking on their 4-game trip out to California, we noted that the next handful of games would serve as a nice litmus test for how they stacked up against some of the league’s best.
Well.. so far, so good. They played a pretty solid road game that netted them a point – which could’ve easily been two, if not for a few unlucky bounces – against a sneaky good Phoenix Coyotes squad. Then they submitted quite possibly their most impressive performance of the season when they went into a place that has recently been a house of horrors of sorts, the
Shark Tank SAP Center, and handled the Sharks with relative ease.
Things don’t really get easier in the near future, though. The Canucks find themselves staring at a back-to-back against the Kings and Sharks, before heading home to face the Sharks for the 4th and final time this season. Their opponent tonight is sitting at 10-6 right now which is good for only 5th in the Pacific and 9th in the West, but that may fool you, because they’ve once again been a dominant possession team. Despite the fact that they’re missing two key pieces up front they’ll surely still prove to be a handful on Saturday night.
Read on past the jump for a preview of the game.
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PDT
Here’s a look at the lines for the Canucks in this one:
The Canucks beat the Sharks on Thursday night, scored 4 goals, and the Sedin line didn’t produce a single point. That’s not a sentence I was expecting to write a few days ago, considering how much this team has relied on them for weeks now. But just because they didn’t create a goal doesn’t mean that they weren’t effective, because they were; they went up against the Marleau-Couture-Havlat line, and posted a positive shot differential (10-6). So don’t let those goose eggs in the Goal/Assist category fool you.
That 2nd line of Higgins-Santorelli-Burrows is freakin’ awesome, if you haven’t realized already. They’ve been responsible for 4 goals over the past 3 games, and have been kind of dominant in doing so. They went up against Joe Thornton’s line, and held their own, which is quite an impressive feat. The aforementioned top line is obviously the motor for this Canucks team, but getting the type of secondary production that they’ve been getting from their second line lately has been huge.
Man, as if playing 3:46 in both games since being reinstated into the lineup wasn’t bad enough for Zac Dalpe, now Daily Faceoff refuses to even acknowledge his presence. Poor guy.
On the other end, here are the combinations the Kings are expected to be using:
The Kings are missing Jeff Carter – he may’ve injured his foot, but my sources tell me that his absence from the lineup could be attributed to the fact that he’s just nursing the world’s deadliest hangover ever right now – and Jarret Stoll, so that obviously hurts their cause.. but it must be nice having the luxury of being able to call up someone like Tyler Toffoli, who had 7 goals and 12 points in 10 AHL games in Manchester this year. The Kings have an injury and call up Tyler Toffoli, while the Canucks call up Zac Dalpe.. which is basically the same thing other than the difference in production and ability.
That top line of Brown-Kopitar-Williams controls well above 60% of shot attempts in score close situations, which is kind of absurd, but expected considering how good they’ve been over the past couple of seasons. Someone that hasn’t been as good though, unfortunately for the Kings and their fans, is Jonathan Quick who just ecclipsed the .900 save% plateau with his shutout against the Sabres the other night. Oh well, only 10 years and $58 million to go!
You can expect to see:
- A ton of Drew Doughty flanking the Sedin line
- Robyn Regehr blocking a bunch of shots but ultimately having opposing players take laps around him
- Dan Carcillo doing something questionable/dirty
- Reminiscing, as Willie Mitchell is in the lineup as is a player named "Linden"
For a Kings perspective on the game I would strongly recommend following Robert P, and the Jewels from the Crown blog. They do fantastic work over there.
THE NUMBERS GAME
|Corsi Close %||56.7% (2nd)||52.7% (9th)|
|5v5 GF/60||1.64 (26th)||2.67 (8th)|
|5v5 GA/60||1.96 (8th)||2.11 (11th)|
|PDO||97.2 (27th)||100.7 (12th)|
|5v4 GF/60||7.65 (9th)||3.21 (28th)|
|5v4 SF/60||56.1 (13th)||61.7 (4th)|
|4v5 GA/60||7.21 (21st)||3.66 (2nd)|
|4v5 SA/60||47.1 (8th)||47.6 (10th)|
GAME DAY LINKS
- Tale of the Tape for tonight’s game. [via CDC]
- An interview with prospect Cole Cassels, who is crushing right now. [via Thomas Drance]
- Brad Richardson has given the Canucks some "bite". [via Ben Kuzma]
- A preview featuring our very own Cam Charron. [via Jewels from the Crown, a Kings blog]
Quickly Getting to Quick – You get 3-to-1 odds on the Canucks scoring the first goal of the game and eventually winning it. Both games of the trip thus far have seen the opposition score on the Canucks within the first 90 seconds or so, including Joe Thornton’s brutal goal off of Luongo’s back last time out.
Olympic Hopefuls – Remember when Jonathan Quick was considered to be a favourite for the starting goalie gig on Team USA? That seems like a long time ago. He has been pretty putrid over his past 50 regular season starts since the beginning of last year’s shortened campaign. It has gotten to the point where we should start referring to a .900 save percentage as ‘The Jonathan Quick Line’. Regardless, if you think this’ll be a low scoring game (under 5.5 total goals), you can get $3.25 for every $1 you wager.
Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.