Canucks Army GDT #16 – Canucks vs Senators

After escaping California with a well-earned two points and a stolen two more, Vancouver is back in the friendly confines of Rogers Arena this evening to take on the visiting Ottawa Senators. A lot has changed since these two teams last played one another – most notably neither of them are that good any more. Still, a valuable two points are on the line tonight, and the Canucks are looking to build on a successful road swing, and continue holding a top position in the NHL standings.

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

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Ryan Stanton 
Ryan Stanton
Kevin Bieksa 
Kevin Bieksa
Dan Hamhuis 
Dan Hamhuis
Yannick Weber 
Yannick Weber

Derek Dorsett and Luca Sbisa are all listed as “questionable” after missing Sunday’s game in Anaheim. Radim Vrbata will not play due to a leg injury. Zack Kassian and Tom Sestito remain out with lower body injuries Ryan Miller will start in goal.

Craig Anderson will start in goal.

Preview

The last time Ottawa faced the Canucks, it was on March 2nd of last season at the Heritage Classic in B.C. Place. There, the Sens beat the Canucks by a 4-2 score, but that was hardly the story of the game. Eddie Lack had been playing some excellent hockey, so John Tortorella started Lack in place of Roberto Luongo, kicking off a series of events that would see Jim Benning sign Ryan Miller to a 3-year to play goal for Vancouver just a few short months later.

The offseason changes for Vancouver were pretty dramatic, but the Sens underwent a serious summer facelift too. Gone is team captain Jason Spezza as well as trade deadline pickup Ales Hemsky, and in their places are David Legwand, Alex Chiasson, and a host of other young players you’ve never heard of unless you either played a ton of NHL 14 or remember World Junior Championship rosters from about half a decade ago.

For Ottawa, these moves seemed less like a reset and more like compulsively shedding excess salary. The Sens can’t be talked about these days without talking about Eugene Melnyk, internal budgets, “Cost-Per-Point,” and hiring Ukranian hackers to erase an overly-inquisitive blogger from the internet – and yes, that actually happened. The crashing to the absolute salary cap floor has left the Sens in a bit of a mess. They carry a 47.3% Corsi, which is awful, and the 5th lowest FenwickTied of any team since ’07-08.

The only reason why Ottawa isn’t in the thick of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes right now is because Craig Anderson has been out-of-his-mind good. Anderson is currently sporting a 0.951 save percentage on the year while facing an average of 36 shots per game. Those are some pretty remarkable numbers, but they’re bound to regress.

Vancouver should be able to get a lot of shots tonight, and plenty of chances to score. Still, while Ottawa is really not a good team, Vancouver’s 48.4% Corsi isn’t at all impressive either. These teams may be fairly evenly matched, especially with the Canucks hobbled lineup, which is concerning for anyone expecting the Canucks to possibly win a playoff round in the Pacific.

Vancouver is still second in their division, but they’ll need all the points they can get to keep pace. With a strong effort, they should come out on top tonight and build on their successful, if not fortuitous, California road trip.

Programming note: there likely won’t be a postgame tonight, but we’ll have one for you tomorrow morning.

  • NM001

    Tonight’s game will be very interesting to watch and I dare say show more about the heart of the team than the concluded roadie in Cali.

    In the past, Canucks teams have geared up for certain games ie: Boston or Chicago and then had a let down immediately after a good performance. It was almost like they took that one game as”the challenge” , proved themselves, then came out flat for a week or so.

    If the culture has truly changed after last seasons debacle and the coaching change, tonight’s game will prove they don’t rest on past accomplishments.

    This team has played not only a lot of games, but road games in the Conference and Division. Home ice vs weaker Eastern conference teams should be a feeding frenzy of points, not a night off.

    Give hell Willie!

  • NM001

    “A lot has changed since these two teams last played one another – most notably neither of them are that good any more.”

    No disrespect to Dmitri.

    But these GDTs are markedly better this year now that the new most realistic blogger on here has taken on that task as well…

  • NM001

    OK Offsides….

    “Neither team is good anymore” and ” the Canucks look to hold a top position in the NHL Standings.” So which is it?

    ESPN has the Canucks ranked #7 in their power rankings, up 4 spots…. Looks pretty good from their point of view?

      • Just the eye test alone proves that this team is leaps and bounds better than that disaster of a Canucks team that suited up for the Winter not so Classic.

        Top line , PP and Goaltending alone are better as are second line scoring and depth of four lines.

        • bossram

          The eye test isn’t the end all proof of anything.

          The team looks better overall. I prefer the style of play: controlled exits and entries. The PP is better as well.

          But the the Canucks seem to have trouble preventing teams with speed from breaking through the neutral zone. And they were absolutely manhandled by the Sharks and Kings. Just stuffed. No possession, couldn’t gain zone.

          The second line scoring is nice and helping us win games right now, but long-run there is no way they wil continue to produce at this pace.

        • Definitely, but are they leaps and bounds better than the team that won seven straight in December and put up top-10 possession numbers through the first half of the year?

          Last year’s Canucks were a pretty solid team until their coach went mental and half the team went down with injuries in January. After that they were bottom-5 in the league bad.

          This team’s been fun to watch so far this year. They’ve also been erratic and inconsistent, both by the eye test and by the underlying numbers, so how they’ll do going forward is anyone’s guess.

  • Here is the thing: they suck on the Corsi and the Fenwick, so this is an illusion. Last night’s win over an inferior opponent is not proof of anything. It proves they have mediocre goaltending (his sv% is already down to .910% — leagye average). And it proves that he can’t shut down a soul./

    Go Canuckss, but by January, we are right in no man’s land — too far out of it to get a playoff spot, to for in to it to get a McDavid.

    • We have to be careful with Corsi and Fenwick this early into the season. The Canucks dominated possession last night (and they should have) but wait until 30 games in before reading too much into it.

      Canucks were actually a very good possession team under torts before the injuries hit and the wheels came off.

      I don’t know why we want to be so quick to jump to conclusions (based on data which requires large sample sizes to be meaningful) about this team, and why it has to be polarized. This team is TERRIBLE…this team is AWESOME. Why can’t there be a meddling middle ground? (which the Canucks are certainly going to be part of) why can’t we wait and see what the team actually does before putting a label on them?

      What’s the rush?

    • We have to be careful with Corsi and Fenwick this early into the season. The Canucks dominated possession last night (and they should have) but wait until 30 games in before reading too much into it.

      Canucks were actually a very good possession team under torts before the injuries hit and the wheels came off.

      I don’t know why we want to be so quick to jump to conclusions (based on data which requires large sample sizes to be meaningful) about this team, and why it has to be polarized. This team is TERRIBLE…this team is AWESOME. Why can’t there be a meddling middle ground? (which the Canucks are certainly going to be part of) why can’t we wait and see what the team actually does before putting a label on them?

      What’s the rush?

    • We have to be careful with Corsi and Fenwick this early into the season. The Canucks dominated possession last night (and they should have) but wait until 30 games in before reading too much into it.

      Canucks were actually a very good possession team under torts before the injuries hit and the wheels came off.

      I don’t know why we want to be so quick to jump to conclusions (based on data which requires large sample sizes to be meaningful) about this team, and why it has to be polarized. This team is TERRIBLE…this team is AWESOME. Why can’t there be a meddling middle ground? (which the Canucks are certainly going to be part of) why can’t we wait and see what the team actually does before putting a label on them?

      What’s the rush?

  • “12-5 after 17 games but I’m deeply depressed because the underlying metrics aren’t as rosy.”

    Some people on this site need to get out more. Live in the moment! There are a whole host of awful things that are going to happen in this world in the future. Are you really going to be depressed in advance of all them?

    Why watch a professional sport if not to take some happiness and satisfaction away when the team you support is doing well, as defined by wins and losses.

    There will be plenty of time for sadness and depression if it all comes crashing back to earth. Last year proved that.

  • That was a great game after an uneven road trip.

    It’s too bad the Canucks couldn’t play in the East.

    They could go on a run like the Rangers did last year in the Cinderella conference…

  • If one thinv I have learned from Fenwick and Corsi (the guys that brought you three years of David Booth!) is how important they are.

    Puck possesion is what details future goal production (see Jannik Hansen and David Booth) and thus is a totally reliable stat.

    PEACE!