Canucks Army GDT #64 – Canucks @ Coyotes

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I’m not going to try to sell you on the merits of tonight’s game between the Vancouver Canucks and Phoenix Coyotes, because aesthetically speaking, it’ll more than likely make for horrendous viewing. I can’t for the life of me recall the last time the Canucks played a game that I actually genuinely enjoyed watching, but it’s been some time. Let me actually check the schedule..

Oh, hey, it was probably the last time these two teams met back on January 26th! The Canucks managed to score 5 times in that game, which seems like the most impossible of feats at this point. Heck, they’ve scored 5 goals in their last 4 games combined. So suffice it to say, I wouldn’t bet on that sort of scoring outburst occurring again.

But there is *one* big reason to tune in though: the trade deadline hits tomorrow afternoon, and there’s at least a non-zero chance that this could be the last time we saw any of Ryan Kesler, Roberto Luongo, or Alex Edler in a Vancouver Canucks uniform.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 6:00 PM PST

TV: Rogers Sportsnet Pacific

The Canucks

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At least according to Daily Faceoff’s lineup chart, Chris Higgins will be the first one to get a shot at replacing the void left on the top line by Daniel Sedin’s hamstring injury. There’s an interesting (well, at least in my opinion, but I’m a self-admitted nerd soooo..) subplot at play here: if Ryan Kesler is traded by tomorrow (which seems likely at the moment), then Chris Higgins will be the team’s only hope at having a 20-goal scorer on the roster at the end of the season. Fine, maybe I oversold how interesting that storyline was by just a smidgeon. 

As is the seemingly the case with most personnel decisions made by a Vancouver Canucks coach in recent years, Zack Kassian is the big loser here. He and Booth had been one of the few bright spots on this team, having controlled 53.5% of all shot attempts at 5v5 when sharing the ice together. Now with Booth being bumped up to the 2nd line, Kassian finds himself playing next to Brad Richardson and Darren Archibald on what’s essentially a checking line. And people wonder why he’s not producing points.

One final thing I’ll point out about the lineup: watch for Alex Edler and Chris Tanev, who have spent the past two games playing together, and enjoyed a lot of success in their newfound partnership. They’ve been on the ice for 37 shot attempts for vs. only 13 against, which is a sparkling ratio. If Edler isn’t dealt tomorrow, I’ll be very curious to see whether Tortorella keeps them together, and whether Edler – who has bounced around from partner to partner – is able to reap the rewards of having such a stable partner by his side.

The Coyotes

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As you’ve noticed, Marty Hanzal has been ruled out of tonight’s game. You can all exhale now, as the chances of a Canuck that would’ve potentially been tradebait getting injured the night prior to the deadline just dropped exponentially. Then again, we are talking about the 2013-14 Vancouver Canucks, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves with bold proclamations. 

It’s interesting expectations and context change perception, eh? The Coyotes are currently 11th in the Western Conference with 65 points, behind the Canucks and their 66 (though they do have 2 games in hand). But there have been rumours circulating on Twitter today that they’re looking to be buyers tomorrow, and that they could quite possibly go ahead and acquire a player to try and help push them into the playoffs. A playoff bid is obviously a massive boon for them given their franchise’s situation, but still. 

They’re a worse team than the Canucks, yet I get the feeling that the outlook over there is a pretty optimistic one as they try to surge ahead. Here in Vancouver, we’re just trying not to cut our eyeballs out.

The Numbers

Canucks Coyotes
5v5 Corsi Close % 51.9 (9th) 49.3 (18th)
5v5 GF/60 2.15 (20th) 2.23 (16th)
5v5 GA/60 2.13 (9th) 2.23 (15th)
5v5 PDO 99.9 (T-16th) 100.0 (T-13th)
5v4 GF/60 4.34 (27th) 7.31 (6th)
5v4 SF/60 57.7 (4th) 54.5 (8th)
4v5 GA/60 4.49 (3rd) 7.28 (28th)
4v5 SA/60 39.8 (1st) 58.1 (26th)
Penalty Differential -4 -5

Gameday Reading

Mike Gillis finally made a trade! 

Wait a second. What’s a Jeff Costello? I honestly have no idea, and I’m not going to try and insult your intelligence by trying to tell you otherwise. Here’s his HockeyDB page, and here’s a point our prospects guy Josh Weissbock made on Twitter about him:

Feel free to carry on with your day.