Canucks Army GDT #28 – Canucks @ Senators

Less than 24 hours after a disappointing loss to the hated Toronto Maple Leafs (stupid, stupid Cam Charron), Vancouver is back in action to take on the not-so-pesky-anymore Ottawa Senators. The Canucks are looking to get a win and ensure a better than 0.500 record on their extended Eastern road swing, while Ottawa is – perhaps foolishly – looking to stay out of the Connor McDavid sweepstakes. It’s not exactly a marquee match up, but there are two points up for grabs and every point is going to matter by the time the season is over.

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

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 4:00 PM PST

TV: CITY TV

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Luca Sbisa 
Luca Sbisa
Kevin Bieksa 
Kevin Bieksa
Ryan Stanton 
Ryan Stanton
Yannick Weber 
Yannick Weber

Shawn Matthias could be held out of tonight’s game after taking an elbow to the head last night courtesy of Stephane Robidas. Nicklas Jensen will draw in to the lineup in his place if he can’t play. Tom Sestito has been assigned to Utica for a conditioning stint. No word yet on if Ryan Miller or Eddie Lack will get the start in goal.

EDIT:

Defensive Pairings
Chris Phillips 
Chris Phillips
Erik Karlsson 
Erik Karlsson
Marc Methot 
Marc Methot
Cody Ceci 
Cody Ceci
Mark Borowiecki 
Mark Borowiecki
Eric Gryba 
Eric Gryba

Milan Michalek will miss tonight’s game with an upper body injury. Mark Stone will be a game time decision, but is expected to play tonight. Robin Lehner is out with a knee injury, so Craig Anderson will start after playing last night against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Preview

The Canucks are back in action tonight after dropping a disappointing contest against the Toronto Maple Leafs last night on Hockey Night in Canada. I didn’t see much of the game (I was throwing teddy bears on the ice at the Pacific Coliseum instead), but from the parts I did manage to catch, it looked like your standard Toronto Maple Leafs affair: vastly outplay the home side and lose anyways because you just didn’t catch enough breaks. It also did’t help that Ryan Miller looked pretty brutal last night, especially on Richard Panik’s 2-0 goal that he overplayed to a ridiculous degree.

The good news is that there’s as good a chance as any that Vancouver can get right back in the win column tonight since the Sens really aren’t great. They sit above only Buffalo in the Atlantic division, and that’s despite yet another stellar season from goalie Craig Anderson, who’s 0.929 save percentage has him tied for 5th in the entire NHL.

The Senators have to lean on their goalie a lot because they have a bizarre aversion to blocking shots that’s persisted for a few years now. Couple that with a declining Corsi% largely thanks to a worse team than they’ve had in years prior, and you get a team that’s in the bottom-3 in the NHL in score adjusted Fenwick, and once again above only the sad sack Buffalo Sabres in score adjusted Shots on Goal percentage. Even Erik Karlsson, who’s been an excellent play driver throughout his career, is struggling with a 46.3% Fenwick this season.

Normally, a road back-to-back would favour the home side, but that advantage is nullified somewhat as both Vancouver and Ottawa played and traveled last night, as the Sens are coming from Pittsburgh after a disappointing 3-2 loss. This should help the Canucks in their quest to get back in the win column after last night’s debacle.

They’ll likely have to do it without Shawn Matthias, who left last night’s contest with a possible concussion thanks to a Stephane Robidas elbow. Earlier in the year, we’d probably make a snarky comment here about how the Canucks will get better now because Matthias has never been a good 5-on-5 player, but Matthias has turned his game around big time, and not only looks like a really, really good NHL player of late, but his underlying numbers tell the same story. Over the past 10 games, Matthias is a +25 Corsi to go along with 4 goals and 3 assists, which is exceptional production for a second liner, let alone a #3 LW.

In his place, Nicklas Jensen will presumably draw in to the lineup to pay his 4th NHL game of the year. Jensen has 6G and 5A in 15 AHL games this year to go along with 44 shots on goal. He’s been a solid contributor to a very good Utica Comets team, so hopefully he can translate his strong play to a depth NHL role. We’ll see at 4 PM this afternoon.