Canucks Army GDT #29 – Canucks @ Canadiens

Vancouver is in Montreal this afternoon to finish up their 7-game Eastern road swing against the slumping Canadiens, who have dropped 3 games in a row and lost 7 of their last 10. More notably however, it will be an emotional night as Montreal is playing their first home game since the passing of Habs legend Jean Beliveau.

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

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 4:30 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

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 is listed as “questionable” with a head injury. Nicklas Jensen will play again if Matthias can’t go. Despite a 0.950 save percentage over this past week, Eddie Lack will sit in favour of Ryan Miller in goal.

Defensive Pairings
Andrei Markov 
Andrei Markov
P.K. Subban 
P.K. Subban
Sergei Gonchar 
Sergei Gonchar
Alexei Emelin 
Alexei Emelin
Nathan Beaulieu 
Nathan Beaulieu

Bryan Allen and Mike Weaver are out for tonight’s game. Nathan Beaulieu and Tom Gilbert will make up the 3rd pairing instead. Carey Price starts in net.

Preview

Truth be told, there is very little that can happen in the game tonight that will make it more notable than the pre-game ceremony that’s scheduled to take place, as the Montreal Canadiens and their fans say goodbye to one of Hockey’s all time great players and people, Jean Beliveau. Tim Thompson (a.k.a @b0undless, a.k.a the guy responsible for CBC’s fantastic montages in recent years) has already put together and released a pretty stirring tribute earlier today:

4, Jean Beliveau from HockeyFilms on Vimeo.

The Canucks players themselves have admitted that tonight will be a pretty special night to witness first hand as well.

As for the task at hand, Vancouver has dropped two consecutive games to two pretty mediocre Toronto and Ottawa teams over the weekend, and are in danger of coming away with a losing record on their season-long 7-game road swing. They played well in the second half of the Toronto game and early against Ottawa, but ultimately couldn’t put together a 60-minute effort in either outing. Montreal, while coming back down to Earth after an extremely fortunate start to the year, is still a tougher opponent than either Ontario club, at least on paper.

That being said, Montreal is far from one of the East’s best teams. They’re 22nd in the NHL in score adjusted Corsi, and have a minus-2 goal differential on the season – the lowest number of any team currently in a playoff position. Like Vancouver, they jumped out to a great start thanks to a ton of one-goal victories, but “ability to win one goal games” just is not a thing that exists in the long term, and their warts are finally starting to show now that their good fortune appears to be taking a vacation.

This is a possible look into Vancouver’s short-term future as a thin blueline and shaky goaltending may catch up to the Canucks one day soon, but until that day comes, Vancouver can thank exceptional production from their forwards and a monster season from Alex Edler and Chris Tanev for getting them this far. While the Sedins continue to be the engine that powers Vancouver, the Canucks’ depth forwards have stepped up in a big way this season and provided a scoring punch that just hasn’t been there in years.

There are some worrying signs with the 4th line’s inability to control play at 5v5 and offense from Nick Bonino’s group has (as expected) run dry, but ever since being united with Linden Vey when Zack Kassian went down with injury, Shawn Matthias and Brad Richardson have been on a tear. Matthias may sit out tonight once more, but Richardson scored against Ottawa on Sunday to give him 4 goals and 4 assists in the past 6 games to go along with a 56% Corsi at 5v5. It’s unreasonable to ask Richardson to keep this pace for the rest of the year, but we can hope that he and Matthias have turned a corner and given the Canucks a capable 3rd line. We’ll see if they can continue their strong play tonight.

  • Brent

    So does anyone think Benning os going to try to make a deal for a defence man before long? Hamhuis will be out for a while and things can look a little chaotic in our own end sometime.

    • Mantastic

      I’m hoping either a move, or a depth check. I’ve been saying it for the last couple of games. Back end is sluggish. Some of that is also on the forward group but not enough to think they can cover it with a better backcheck.

      Seems like Sanguinetti is doing well on the farm, or Corrado is due for a relief stint in the line-up. Benning recently said he’s standing pat with this group for the time being, so my guess is a farmhand gets a chance before we make a move outside the organization.

  • Mantastic

    Overblown , over the top pregame, even Madam Bellivue said “enough”.good lord!! Henri Richard is very sick ,so is Gordie Howe,sorry to me it just seems like an endless display of over blown public mourning,since Pat quin died and yes, I watched Jean Bellevue play, but all this is a little too much..So ah hem…lousy fu^king preformance by the Nucks.Can`t remember when they had the puck in Montreal zone for any offensive pressure.Next time they mail it in tell us fans, so we don`t waste an evening watching that garbage..Sheesh !!

    • Mantastic

      It was the last game of a 7 game road trip.

      The Canucks have also played 7 more road games than home games and now get the benefit of a nice schedule until the Christmas break.

      Chill…

    • Mantastic

      I’m going to tell you something that might cheer you up. I missed the third period. Entirely. Didn’t care a stitch that I did either. The game didn’t matter. I could give a crap whether they mailed it in or not. Why?

      My 6 year old daughter is learning how to skate, and despite knowing there was a game on tonight, I offered to take her to public skating and teach her a little bit more. It was awesome and gave me more pleasure than any game I ever played or watched being played, ever.

      I kind of figure that’s why some of these ceremonies are “Overblown” (in your crusty words), just because that’s the way you make sure things get passed along to the future. Through endless repetition because that’s the way young people tend to get taught. So they can learn of the great people that paved the way for the players of today.

      For that reason, I have no problems with what the Habs organization, nor the media leading up to, did for their first home game since Beliveau’s death. You can be as b*tchy as you want about the game. But the rest of it was pretty special and I’m glad I got to watch it…because I never got to see Beliveau play and neither will my daughter.

      • Mantastic

        You did the right thing, I have four kids the oldest is 35 and the youngest is 28.I miss those special times when they were young.
        A tribute is fine, Pat Quinn`s was excellent.I just meant that the coverage this week on TSN and SN was way over the top.These great hockey players are all getting older,I just don`t want it dominating hockey shows to the point we`ve seen this week.I do think that would wear on all of us.
        P.S, You`re right,your story of taking your daughter skating did cheer me up.. 🙂

        • Mantastic

          I thought it would. Honestly, the skating makes me smile every time too. I tried to avoid hockey with her and not force my past on her, let it be her choice. This year she finally asked. I forgot what it was like seeing the ice through the eyes of a 6 year old. Now I can only hope I can steer her away from the need to be a goalie, a pitfall I couldn’t avoid. Thanks for your reply.