At some point, someone is going to need waste time some time scrolling through all of the posts we’ve written here at Canucks Army over the past 5-6 weeks and take a tally of the number of times we’ve written the words "low point of the season". I don’t know what the exact figure is, but I’d wager that it’s getting excessively high.
The problem is that you think things can’t get worse, and then they do. Heading into last night’s game in Detroit I figured that things were on the up-and-up with the returns of some prominent figures, but then the Canucks went out and laid a complete and utter egg against the Red Wings.
There are frustrating losses that shouldn’t be happening against inferior teams (think Edmonton Oilers), and then there’s looking completely helpless, lost, and unwilling to try anything to stem the tide (like they did last night). John Tortorella had some choice words for the team following the loss, saying that things needed to change, and luckily for us.. we’ve got some things to talk about just past the jump!
It’s just another day at the office, right? *checks schedule* .. oh, it’s the Bruins. Well then. At this point all you can do is hope that we’re not adding another to the aforementioned tally by the end of the night..
Puck Drop: 4:00 PM PST
TV: Sportsnet Pacific
There are a couple of lineup changes from last night to look into. First off:
#Canucks have recalled C Pascal Pelletier from Utica. Not sure if this is about Henrik or Higgins (who I believe was dinged up last night).
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) February 4, 2014
I had speculated originally whether the team might be giving Henrik a night off to avoid the back-to-back situation, and the potential of the Big Bad Bruins going after him, but then news broke that..
Chris Higgins and Dan Hamhuis both out this evening with injuries suffered last night in Detroit. #Canucks Diaz and Pelletier will play.
— Dan Murphy (@sportsnetmurph) February 4, 2014
Good luck, Raphael Diaz. The former Montreal Canadiens defenseman is expected to make his debut with the team after having been acquired roughly 24 hours ago. The Corrado/Sauve pairing was victimized by the Red Wings, surrendering a combined 25 shot attempts against (to only 12 going the other way). And that was against tertiary competition.
Corrado in particular had one absolutely unforgivable turn over in his own end, only being bailed out by Eddie Lack’s wizardry. Initially, I had written about how I was anticipating that he’d be the guy scratched to make room for Diaz on the back-end, but obviously with Hamhuis out, he’ll play. It has gotten to the point where we need to summarize who is actually playing on defense for the team:
#Canucks D tonight vs BOS: Edler, Garrison, Stanton, Corrado, Sauve & Diaz
— Jeff Paterson (@patersonjeff) February 4, 2014
Oh good lord. This is a good transition to talking about the goaltending situation, I guess. As you’re probably aware of, Luongo will be making his first appearance in Boston since Game 6 of the.. well, you know. Forget the team and the result and what not; from a personal, storytelling level, I am rooting like I hardly ever do at this point for him to put on an absolute show in stifling the Bruins. I know that even if that happens people would still say "yeah, playoffs though!", but whatever.
The idea that he’s not capable of starting at the TD Garden and that he needs to be sheltered is a ridiculous one which I’d like to stop being a thing. Given the way they’ve been playing lately, they’ll more than likely need him to do so if they have any prayer of getting a win. He’ll be hard-pressed to do so given the 6 dudes that’ll be trying to keep the puck from reaching him, though..
Let’s get to their underlying numbers:
|Corsi Close %||51.5% (11th)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.29 (17th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.16 (11th)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.17 (29th)|
|5v4 SF/60||58.1 (4th)|
|4v5 GA/60||4.08 (3rd)|
|4v5 SA/60||40.0 (1st)|
Without sugar-coating it, the odds of the Canucks bumping the slumping and putting together a big win don’t look overly promising on paper. They’re playing in the 2nd leg of a back-to-back against a team that hasn’t played since Saturday morning. The Bruins are 21-6-2 in the building in which they’ll be playing this game, as well.
It’s just Vancouver’s luck that they’re catching the Bruins while Zdeno Chara is still in North America, before he misses their next two contests to head over to Sochi and carry Slovakia’s flag in the opening ceremonies.
Beyond that, you know all of the storylines. Kesler and Iginla don’t like each other, nobody likes Brad Marchand, and seeing Milan Lucic in that uniform compels people to wonder why the Canucks don’t draft MOAR GIANTZ!!!!!!1!!!!1!
The Bruins have some pretty sparkling underlying numbers:
|Corsi Close %||54.3% (3rd)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.48 (6th)|
|5v5 GA/60||1.72 (2nd)|
|5v4 GF/60||7.79 (5th)|
|5v4 SF/60||52.8 (12th)|
|4v5 GA/60||6.18 (13th)|
|4v5 SA/60||48.2 (9th)|
[Stats via extraskater.com]
Brad Marchand on the Canucks: "I think there’s definitely hatred, yeah, for that team."
— Amalie Benjamin (@AmalieBenjamin) February 3, 2014
Last time these two teams played back on December 14th, the Canucks dished out a butt-whooping on the Bruins, and it seems like it was ages ago now. During the contest, the CBC cameras caught Brad Marchand taunting the Sedins by "kissing his ring" and looking up to the skies as if he was holding Lord Stanley up in the air.
At the time I actually thought it was pretty hilarious, but it’s Brad Marchand we’re talking about, so people around here weren’t exactly taking it in stride. Well, except for Pass it to Bulis, who just put up a fun little compilation of Marchand photoshops. I think this one is my favourite..