Canucks Army GDT #21 – Sharks @ Canucks


Joe Thornton returns to the scene of the crime.

Thursday night’s meeting will mark the 8th time in the last 25 games (including the playoffs) that the Canucks will have played the San Jose Sharks, which is relevant, because it helps put things in perspective. The Sharks are unquestionably one of the league’s elite teams, and I’m sure that the Canucks will appreciate not having to play them nearly every 3rd game for the remainder of the season. 

I also appreciate that this is the (4th and) final time these two teams will meet over the course of the next handful of months because quite frankly I’m running out of interesting things to say in my coverage of their games. Leading up to this meeting we won’t have to hear about the tired storyline of how many times in a row the Canucks have lost to the Sharks after having slayed the dragon a week ago, but I’m sure all of the Joe Thornton #ROOSTERWATCH jokes will more than make up for it.

BROADCAST INFO

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PDT

TV: Rogers Sportsnet Vancouver

Radio: Team1040

SETUP

It has been nearly 4 days since we’ve seen the Canucks in game action, so I’ve attached a nice little visual image of what the lines will look like based on yesterday’s practice [via Daily Faceoff]. There’s a few changes, so we actually have something to talk about:

 

First off, welcome back David Booth. After having basically missed the past 10 games, the much maligned winger is expected to be on the 3rd line in his return which is kind of a big deal. We’d seen Tom Sestito play the role of 3LW over the better part of the past two games, and regardless of how you feel about Booth, there’s no question that he’s a massive upgrade on that front.

I actually think this top-9 as currently constructed looks real good, especially if the 2nd line keeps crushing it. With that being said, Jannik Hansen could very well be back within the next game or two so don’t get too comfortable with this arrangement, but that’s a good problem to have.

Before they manhandled the Flames en route to an overtime victory a few days ago, the Sharks had failed to get the two points in 5 consecutive games (though 4 of those losses were of the OT/SO variety). A slight hiccup for a team that had come out guns a blazin’ over the first few weeks of the season. They’re still a dominant possession team, they’re scoring at a high rate, their power play is obscene, and they draw a ton of penalties.. which is a long form way of saying that they’re still good. 

Last time out we saw the Sedin line go up against Couture’s, but the key was Santorelli and Co. being able to hang with Jumbo Joe’s unit (..). That’s big. I’m talking about the 2nd line’s performance, and not Joe Thornton’s unit, of course. Luckily for the Canucks Brent Burns is more than likely out yet again, though by all accounts he’s expected to be back in the lineup soon.

One final thing: Antti Niemi has given up 4 goals in 4 of his past 5 appearances, and was pulled last Thursday after a rather dreadful performance. With that being said.. he has had a few days off – which is probably relevant since he gets as much work as any goalie in the league – and had shutouts in 2 of the 3 games prior to this rough stretch.

THE NUMBERS GAME

  Sharks Canucks
Corsi Close % 55.0% (5th) 52.6% (8th)
5v5 GF/60 2.98 (3rd) 2.52 (8th)
5v5 GA/60 2.06 (10th) 2.26 (18th)
PDO 100.6 (10th) 99.7 (16th)
     
  Sharks Canucks
5v4 GF/60 8.50 (3rd) 3.02 (28th)
5v4 SF/60 71.5 (1st) 64.1 (2nd)
4v5 GA/60 4.44 (4th) 3.34 (2nd)
4v5 SA/60 51.8 (17th) 45.6 (5th)
Penalty Differential +26 -4 

All numbers via Extra Skater, save the last one, which comes from NHL.com.

GAME DAY LINKS

  • We’ve gone ahead and relaunched our podcast, making it better than ever! [via Canucks Army]
  • Players like the idea of killing the shootout. Of course they do. [via Jim Jamieson]
  • Yannick Weber provides some interesting quotes about the team’s power play. [via Tony Gallagher]
  • 20 Questions after 20 Games. [via Jeff Paterson]

PLAYNOW

Sniping on the Sharks – If the Canucks score a goal in all 3 periods en route to a win, you get $6.50 for every $1 you wager. That seems.. foolhardy. But the odds are fairly lofty, so if you’re feeling lucky, then I guess you could take a shot in the dark here?

Breaking the Blank – Kevin Bieksa and Alex Burrows have fired a combined 65 shots on goal without getting one by the opposing ‘tender. If you believe one of them breaks that streak tonight, and the Canucks wind up winning, you are getting 3.50-to-1 odds. I personally like this one bet much better than the one above.

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

Don’t forget to sign up for Streakcred!

  • James M

    The Canucks still lack clutch scoring. We don’t have a true sniper that can get you that all important next goal. We outchance other teams often but when you don’t finish, it doesn’t matter all that much.

    I don’t know if Daniel is a line 1 guy anymore. He gets points but isn’t scoring like he used to.

    I wouldn’t mind seeing some experiments when we flounder like this. Maybe:

    Burr/Hank/Kess

    Daniel/Santo/Kassian

    Booth/Richardson/Higgins

    Hansen/Welsh/Dalpe or Sestito

    Weise and Schroeder will throw that out of sorts too.

  • James M

    Last three games 3 goals. This team shouldn’t have to score mid way through the second then try and hang on. Too many missed chances , Booth, Higgins! Burrows Ect When Sedins don’t score their lazy back checking becomes very very noticeable. That last penalty was just not skating

  • James M

    @ 5minutesinthebox

    We have a 2LC. His name is Ryan Kesler.

    With Hansen back in action the team is overloaded with top six wingers, and Kes is better used down the middle. Probably between Higgins and Hansen, putting Burrows on the first line; although putting Hansen with the twins, and Burrows with Kes and Higgy might be interesting too.

    I’m thinking a 3L of Booth-Santo-Kassian has the potential to develop into a “2b” line if they play to their potential. Santo and Booth had a good thing going in the past.

    Richardson then gets to play regularly with actual NHL wingers Weise and Sestito, while the AHL guys challenge for one of those spots when the opportunity (that is: Injury) comes up.

    If Schroeder comes back and sticks, there’s added forward depth on the big club.

    Personally, I’m pretty happy with the way that sounds on paper. Let’s see if it shows up on the score sheet.

    • James M

      By my math we are still short a player. Hansen is not a 2nd line player. I love the guy but I dont think he can produce what he need in a from a 2nd line player. I would personally put Kes back on the 2nd line and Burrows back with the Twins.
      I see Hansens speed and tenacity pairing well with Booth, with Santorelli centering that line. If Kassian worked with the Twins that would solve a lot of issues, but he just isnt there. At least not at this point.

  • James M

    A nakes Joe Thorton walks in to the room and starts singing:
    “Ooooohhh, Yeah here come the rooster,
    You know he ain’t gonna die
    No, no, no, ya know he ain’t gonna die”

  • James M

    Our Top 9 on paper looks really good, and with Hansen coming back it will look even better. I still think we need another player we can consistent rely on to get points though.

    It seems like we have too many players that “do the small things without getting on the scoresheet”.

    • James M

      Ideally we need a 2nd line C, as I would like to see Santorelli on the 3rd, and Richardson on the 4th.
      A 4th line of Archibald Richardson Kassian could actually eat up some minutes, and Torts could deploy them with at least some confidence.

      Another question I have is why is Dalpe up and Archibald down?

  • Mitch

    I’d much rather be a good team and hit our peak at playoffs. I think the Sharks may have hit their peak a bit ago. That level of play is tough to sustain from now to playoffs and it’s also very tough to recapture that form if you do drop off.

    Sharks are a good team but I’m hoping they fade and fail like they usually do. Maybe Torts will have our guys rolling at playoff time. A lot of ‘ifs’ right now so let’s see how it goes!