Canucks Army GDT #7: Canucks @ Avalanche

After a 4-1 win against the flu-ravaged St. Louis Blues last night, the Canucks are back in action this evening as they take on the slumping Colorado Avalanche at 6:00 PM PST. With travel last night, there isn’t much to report in terms of Canucks news, and we’re not even sure who’s going to start in the Vancouver goal at the time of this writing (though it should be Eddie Lack).

Read past the jump for a look at the Canucks and their opponents ahead of tonight’s old Northwest Division showdown.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 6:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet ONE

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
Jan Hejda 
Jan Hejda
Erik Johnson 
Erik Johnson
Brad Stuart 
Brad Stuart
Tyson Barrie 
Tyson Barrie
Nick Holden 
Nick Holden
Ryan Wilson 
Ryan Wilson

So far, there are no lineup changes to report for the Canucks after yesterday’s 4-1 win over the Blues. Willie Desjardins managed his bench really well last night, with no forward seeing 18 minutes of ice time, so Vancouver should be as rested as they can be playing the second leg of a road back-to-back in Colorado. The only change that may be made is Eddie Lack getting the start over Ryan Miller, who was excellent last night.

The last time Desjardins started Lack after a great game from Miller, it didn’t go well with Lack allowing 4 goals on 24 shots in a loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Still, it was the right call to make given the circumstances, and sitting Miller tonight in favour of Lack gives the Canucks the greatest probability of a quality start from their goaltenders. We’re still awaiting word on who’s going to start for Vancouver, but it should be Lack. Hot hand be damned.

As for Colorado, Semyon Varlamov will return from injury tonight, playing his first game since suffering a groin injury. The Russian netminder was Vezina-calibre for the Avs last year, posting a 0.927 save percentage, but hasn’t been as spectacular this season. Still, a 0.910 save percentage isn’t terrible (Vancouver’s goalies have actually stopped a lower percentage of shots and are still 4-2 on the year), and his 3.80 GAA speaks more to how many shots the Avs give up than it does him struggling. Colorado hemorrhages shots on goal like a haemophiliac at a Gillette factory, as only Dallas and Buffalo give up shot attempts at a higher rate. 

They’ve also been one of the worst teams in the NHL at generating shot attempts for themselves, and have just a 31.8% GF% in the early going. A lot of this number is percentage driven – a PDO around 960 will surely come up – but that doesn’t change the fact that the Avs haven’t been good either. It’s far too early to say if this is the new normal for the Avs this year since Nathan MacKinnon has yet to get going and he could turn into a monster at any time, but Colorado being bad isn’t exactly something that’s come out of the blue either.

This is an eminently winnable game for Vancouver tonight, and one where we should expect them to dictate the play at the very least. Still, anything is possible and the Avs have themselves some lethal weapons in their arsenal. As always, here’s to hoping for another W tonight.

  • SJ

    A ‘W’ should be attainable, especially with the Sedins well-rested. I kind of hope that Willie is able to match them up against the 2nd (Calgary) line of the Avs rather than the first; even if the Sedins dominate the top line, it could still burn them with their foot-speed. I guess it all depends on what St. Patrick wants for matchups.