Canucks Army GDT #6: Canucks @ Blues

The St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks have both gotten off to a similar start to the year. Neither team is piling up the wins out of the gate, but both teams have put up very impressive possession numbers – St. Louis is 3rd in 5v5 Corsi%, while Vancouver is 5th. The main difference is that while St. Louis has seen the second worst shooting percentage in the NHL, Vancouver has received the third worst goaltending.

Tonight’s 5:00 PM showdown in St. Louis then is the extremely stoppable force against the highly movable object. Read past the jump for expected lineups and a more in-depth look at tonight’s game.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 5:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Vancouver Hockey

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Dan Hamhuis 
Dan Hamhuis
Kevin Bieksa 
Kevin Bieksa
Luca Sbisa 
Luca Sbisa
Yannick Weber 
Yannick Weber
Defensive Pairings
Jay Bouwmeester 
Jay Bouwmeester
Alex Pietrangelo 
Alex Pietrangelo
Ian Cole 
Ian Cole
Kevin Shattenkirk 
Kevin Shattenkirk
Barret Jackman 
Barret Jackman
Jordan Leopold 
Jordan Leopold

Despite an ass-kicking at the hands of the Dallas Stars, there are no lineup changes to note for the Canucks. Dan Hamhuis will play with Kevin Bieksa, loading up Vancouver’s top-4 D and re-uniting the Sbisa-Weber nightmare pairing, but other than that, the same 18 skaters that suited up on Tuesday will take the ice tonight.

Vancouver is looking to avoid falling to 3-3 on the year after starting 3-0 against the Alberta teams, but they’ll be in tough to do it tonight. Through their first handful of games, the Blues have been one of the best puck possession teams in the NHL, but have shot at just 2.9% in score close situations. Still, they’re 2-2-1 on the year thanks largely to a powerplay operating at 30% and the play of young Jaden Schwartz. Schwartz leads the Blues in goals (4 in 5 games) and points (7), with linemate Vladimir Tarasenko second on the team in scoring as well.

St. Louis will likely be without Alex Steen, who’s battling the flu, and will definitely be without prized offseason signing Paul Stastny, who’s nursing a shoulder injury. Stastny’s absence has necessitated Steve Ott being moved to the first line, while it remains to be seen who draws in for Steen, should he be unable to play.

The biggest storyline tonight is the return of Ryan Miller to St. Louis. The Blues paid a premium for the rent-a-goalie’s services last season in hopes that he would solidify their goaltending. Instead, he went 10-8-1 with a 0.903 save percentage with the Blues, before bombing out of the playoffs with an 0.897 save percentage. Needless to say, the Blues were not happy with his performance, and opted not to re-sign Miller, deciding to run with Jake Allen and Brian Elliott instead.

Miller, along with the rest of the Canucks, will be looking to bounce back against a deep and talented Blues team tonight, but it may be the toughest test they face on this road trip. Vancouver will have to be very, very good tonight – or very, very lucky – to come away with the W.

  • Peachy

    The best sign of his early season is that Destino isn’t playing, even after the kind of shellacking that might convince the Canucks that putting him in is a good idea.

    • That’s one way of looking at it. Another is that the team played incredibly hard and took almost 50 shots despite being in a huge hole. There’s something to be said for character and tenacity and not simply rolling over and giving up when you’re down by four.

  • Peachy

    I just don’t know why they don’t try a pairing of Corrado with either Weber or Sbisa.

    Corrado is a much more reliable Dman than either Sbisa or Weber. As far as the goaltending goes….. You can blame a stupid 5-3 PP for the winning goals Tampa and 3 ridiculous goals vs Dallas. 2 own goals and a goaltender interference on Tanev.

    Bad goals happen, but 3 in one game will bring percentages down big time. The team needs to play more disciplined while playing uptempo…… Work in progress!

  • Peachy

    No W tonight. Hoping we draft in the top 5 and land ourselves a franchise player. That will also ensure we deal some vets at the deadline instead of trying to make a run to appease the unwashed masses.

    I’d rather suck for another year or two and then improve over being mediocre for several years. Enough with the bullsh!t.

    • Peachy

      It’s not the unwashed masses that need appeasing. Its a greedy, megalomaniacal, interfering ownership family who didn’t really have sufficient resources to own an NHL franchise and therefore obsess about squeezing every last short-term nickel out of the team.

      But I’m not bitter…

  • Peachy

    A beating!!,the groundskeeper (Willie) will be wishing he started Lack,who was 3-0 .Canucks swept the Blues last year.But wait! I just heard The Blues had the flu..