When the Vancouver Canucks went into Los Angeles to take on the Kings back on January 13th, they were sporting a 24-13-9 record on the season. Their opponents on that night were 27-14-5, a measly two points ahead of them in the Pacific Division.
The Canucks wound up losing the hockey game by a 1-0 score, but were widely hailed for how they “handled their business” on that night. The players themselves, sounded exceptionally upbeat basedon their remarks following the game (via Vancity Buzz).
Sure, they may’ve lost the game that represented the battle, but by all accounts they proved to the world – and even more importantly, themselves – that they would no longer be pushed around by the Big Bad Kings. So maybe, just maybe, they’d better positioned themselves to win the eventual war.
Unfortunately, the illustrious momentum we’ve all heard so much about didn’t wind up carrying over. The Canucks lost by a 8 goals in their next game, and have gone 10-19-2 since. Of course, it’s not just as simple as that; injuries and bad luck and all that jazz factored into their tumble, but the point about how silly the hockey community can sometimes be with all of this fighting/momentum/character mumbo jumbo stands tall.
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PST
Lineups via Daily Faceoff:
You’ve probably heard by now that Henrik Sedin is expected to make his return to the lineup after missing roughly two weeks of action. He’s expected to be the pivot for Chris Higgins and Nicklas Jensen, at least to start.
I imagine we’ll see Henrik be reunited with Brother Daniel on the top line at some point, with Jensen potentially getting a crack at being their running mate. There isn’t much to look forward to at this time, but how the young Dane does if given that opportunity ranks high up that short list.
Meanwhile, we still don’t know definitively, but based on the fact that Yannick Weber was the only member of the team not on the ice, it appears he won’t be available for whatever reason. In anticipation of this the team called up Franklin Corrado, who will hopefully actually get to play a bit this time around. It’d be nice to see him get something more out of this than just the additional Air Miles.
Jacob Markstrom gets the sta–.. hahaha, just kidding.
Drew Doughty was injured the other night in San Jose, and obviously the void he leaves on LA’s back-end is immense. I don’t have absolutely the slightest clue who Andrew Campbell is, but based on his AHL numbers it appears that he’s more of a rugged defensive-minded defenseman than anything else.
But let’s just assume that Doughty’s injury isn’t all that serious (which would appear to be the case since he travelled with the team to Vancouver). This is a very, very scary team heading into the playoffs.
And a large chunk of that has to do with Marian Gaborik, who they got for peanuts from the Blue Jackets at the deadline. According to Stats.HockeyAnalysis.com the duo of Gaborik and Kopitar (who are joined by Justin Williams as the 3rd member of the top line) have controlled 61.7% of all shot attempts at 5v5 in the 145+ minutes they’ve spent together. That is absolutely obscene.
As Corey Masisak noted in his Power Rankings yesterday, all of this puck possession has slowly started to translate into more goals scored for the Kings, and if that keeps up they’re going to be a gargantuan force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately for them, and hockey fans all around the world, they appear to be on a first round collision course with the San Jose Sharks — a series which would be unquestionably worthy of a Western Conference Final.
But first a hockey game needs to be played tonight.
via Extra Skater:
|5v5 Corsi Close %||51.9 (T-9th)||57.2 (1st)|
|5v5 GF/60||2.16 (T-19th)||2.03 (26th)|
|5v5 GA/60||2.19 (14th)||1.60 (1st)|
|5v5 PDO||99.7 (19th)||100.2 (T-11th)|
|5v4 GF/60||4.88 (T-26th)||4.88 (T-26th)|
|5v4 SF/60||58.6 (4th)||50.9 (14th)|
|4v5 GA/60||4.98 (5th)||6.10 (18th)|
|4v5 SA/60||39.7 (1st)||49.6 (14th)|