Canucks Army GDT #9 – Canucks vs. Canadiens

Carey Price, P.K. Subban, and Max Pacioretty lead the NHL-leading Habs into Vancouver tonight to take on the Canucks. The visitors from the East are looking to bounce back from a pair of sub-par performances against the two teams in Alberta, but it will be difficult as the Canucks have been at home for a few days preparing for the road-weary original-six squad.

Read past the jump for a preview of tonight’s game.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet 360

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Good B.C. Boy Carey Price will start in goal for the Habs. Price is 5-1-1 with a 0.937 save percentage in his career against Vancouver.

CHANGE: Lars Eller will apparently be a healthy scratch tonight. Brandon Prust will assume his position on the 3rd line, with Michael Bournival drawing in to the lineup.

Preview

It’s been fairly even-keeled in Canuck land of late, with no major injuries, goalie controversies, or baffling coaching or management decisions to really note. I mean, even Luca Sbisa has been solid so far, and perhaps playing the best hockey of his NHL career. But, it’s still early, and we shouldn’t be confident that Sbisa is now a 51% Corsi guy just as much as we shouldn’t be confident that Dan Hamhuis is now a 46% Corsi guy – both will surely regress towards their career norms as the season moves along.

One would think that facing the league-leading Habs would be the biggest challenge the Canucks have faced this young season, but a closer look at the numbers reveals that Montreal is probably a bit of a paper tiger. They’re massively outperforming their expected record based on their pedestrian +1 goal differential, and they’re probably not that great a puck possession team either. They are ahead of Vancouver in terms of raw 5v5 Corsi%, but that’s largely due to spending more time trailing in hockey games than any other team in the league other than Carolina or Buffalo.

Both the Canucks and Habs have been atrocious with the lead, but Vancouver is well above Montreal when the score is tied or close. Sample sizes are still small though, and whether this pattern holds true tonight is really anyone’s guess.

In terms of individual performances, Max Pacioretty has been absolutely fantastic for Montreal this season. Getting the Sedin treatment from Michel Therrien, Pacioretty has 7 points in 10 games, is among the league’s most prolific shooters, and leads the Habs with a 58% Corsi. P.K. Subban may be the best player on the Canadiens, but Pacioretty is a close second.

The Habs have been successful early in the year, but a lot of things about their record, from being 3-0 in shootouts to 6-0 in one goal games, scream that they’re due to regress. Tonight’s matchup against the Canucks will also be their 3rd game in 4 nights, meaning that the easterners could be tired enough to lay an egg similar to what the Canucks did against the lowly Avs. It’s shaping up to be a perfect storm of sorts for Vancouver tonight. Hopefully the Canucks can take advantage of this opportunity.

  • BuffaloBillsOfHockey

    Canucks win 3-2 in overtime.

    Looking at the standings the Ducks lead the division with a record of 8-3-0 and 16 points with the Canucks hot on their heels at 7-3-0 with 14 points and a game in hand. I wonder if Kesler is beginning to question his trade request…or his own value.