Oh, Timmy. What have you gotten yourself into?
On paper you’d think that the Florida Panthers, a team with a 5-12-4 record and a -24 goal differential, are just what the doctor ordered for a reeling Canucks squad that can’t buy a goal these days. After all, only two teams have allowed more goals (the Oilers and the Flames, which automatically makes this a fun stat) than the Panthers. That must be music to the ears of the Canucks players, coaching staff, and the fans; their team has managed to score exactly once in each of the past 4 games despite quite handily dominating 3 of them.
But let me caution you from assuming that it’s far from a sure thing, because it’s not. The Panthers most certainly aren’t a good hockey club, but their underlying data is actually significantly better than you’d think a team that holds the type of Win-Loss record that they do would have, and they’ve got a goaltender in net that could very conceivably put together a brilliant performance to stifle the Canucks for what seems like the millionth time in a row.
Read on past the jump for a preview of Tuesday night’s contest.
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PDT
TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific
Image via Daily Faceoff
Well, it looks like the lineup which we talked about over the weekend will be short-lived. After just one game, we’ll likely see Ryan Kesler back on the right wing, essentially having swapped places with Alex Burrows. As a result of Santorelli moving back up to center a scoring line, Hansen falls out of the top-six and onto the 3rd line (where he probably belongs).
I didn’t really mind the combinations they used on Sunday, and I don’t particularly mind these. For all of their troubles to find the back of the net recently, the Canucks are a pretty versatile squad with guys that can move all over the place. Santorelli and his playmaking ability will probably fare well next to two shooters like Kesler and Higgins.
In other news, Dale Weise is expected to make his return to the lineup after having missed 10 games. What did he get up to in his time off? Well, there’s this. He’ll slot back in on the 4th line, meaning that David Booth will be taking a seat as a "healthy" scratch for the 2nd time this season. When asked about it, he admitted that skating was an issue right now, and that his "explosiveness isn’t where it was in the past." Oh boy.
Finally, all of this means that Tom Sestito, somehow, someway, remains in the lineup. I know for a fact that he’s no good at hockey. Heck, he can’t even fight, which is supposed to be his saving grace as a player. But it appears that he has a bright future ahead of him in obtaining incriminating photos/documents. Maybe he’ll be able to become a PI or something one day.
Meanwhile, let’s take a look how the visiting Panthers are expected to deploy their players, via Daily Faceoff.
I have a few thoughts about their lineup:
-Remember when we all had Bjoner’s? For some reason that seems like ages ago.
-Along the lines of big centers that have been linked to the Canucks, there was a report recently that Shawn Matthias was a potential target for the team. I guess that makes some sense. It’s not a matter of "if", but moreso a matter of "when" the Canucks will decide to call him up from their farm squad.
-I mentioned in the preamble above that the Panthers probably aren’t as bad as their record indicates. The numbers below support that theory. There’s probably two reasons why their record is as bad as it is: their league worst power play (hey, they’ll make the Canucks look good by comparison in that department!), and their goaltending..
Jacob Markstrom and Scott Clemmensen stopped 87.7% of the pucks they faced in their 10 combined starts this season while Tim Thomas was out with injury. That’s brutal, and it’s a big reason why they’ve given up the 3rd most goals in the league. Thomas has been somewhat up-and-down as he tries to come back from his year off, but in 2 of his last 3 appearances he stifled the Avs and Ducks. No matter how he does, he’s surely an upgrade over those over 2 guys they were rolling with before.
-Speaking of Thomas, Tuesday night marks his first appearance in Rogers Arena since, ah.. forget it.
THE NUMBERS GAME
|Corsi Close %||48.4% (21st)||53.5% (7th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.21 (17th)||2.28 (15th)|
|5v5 GA/60||3.09 (29th)||2.17 (17th)|
|PDO||97.5 (28th)||99.2 (20th)|
|5v4 GF/60||2.45 (30th)||3.88 (27th)|
|5v4 SF/60||39.3 (29th)||67.0 (2nd)|
|4v5 GA/60||6.66 (17th)||3.13 (1st)|
|4v5 SA/60||52.7 (19th)||43.3 (2nd)|
GAME DAY LINKS
- Tale of the Tape [via CDC]
- Plenty of shots for the Canucks, just no goals. [via Jim Jamieson]
- Weise hopes to bring some energy into the lineup. [via Steve Ewen]
Punishing the Panthers – You get 7-to-1 odds if you believe the Canucks score a goal in every period en route to a win. It’s tempting given the fact that Florida gives up so many goals, but at this point, how can you bet on the Canucks to score at least 3 times?
Former Cats – If Mike Santorelli or David Booth scores a goal in a Canucks win, you get 4-to-1 odds. Unfortunately, Booth isn’t even playing in this one, so erasing him from the bet. Will Mike Santorelli stick it to his former team? He has 1 goal in his past 16 games, for whatever it’s worth.
Be sure to sign up with the Canucks Army promo code "CANUCKSARMY" to receive $25 worth of free bets.