Canucks Army GDT #42 – Canucks @ Flyers

After a disappointing start to their 5-game road trip, the Vancouver Canucks are back in action tonight against the struggling Philadelphia Flyers. It may be the perfect storm for a Canucks team that can’t score, as “team defence” isn’t exactly a strength of Philadelphia, and starting goalie Steve Mason (who’s actually been quite good since being dealt from Columbus) is out with a lower body injury. Regardless, Vancouver will try to bump their scoring slump tonight while holding NHL points leader Jakub Voracek and superstar centre Claude Giroux in check.

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

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 4:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Courtesy of DailyFaceoff.com

Chris Tanev is a game-time decision. Dan Hamhuis is scheduled to return tomorrow against the Hurricanes. Nick Bonino will play after missing practice on Thursday. Ryan Miller will play after recovering from the flu.

Defensive Pairings
Mark Streit 
Mark Streit
Andrew MacDonald 
Andrew MacDonald
Michael Del Zotto 
Michael Del Zotto
Nick Schultz 
Nick Schultz
Luke Schenn 
Luke Schenn
Carlo Colaiacovo 
Carlo Colaiacovo

Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, and Nicklas Grossmann are still on IR. Steve Mason is out with a lower body injury. Scott Laughton will miss tonight’s game with an upper body injury. Ray Emery gets the start in goal.

Head to Head

G42 @ PHI

Storylines

  • Firing on No Cylinders As we discussed last game going in to Nashville, the Canucks offence has struggled mightily of late. They mustered one goal against the stingy Preds, and that was at 6-on-5. Their last even strength goal came 3:09 in to the game against the Florida Panthers last Thursday, as Daniel Sedin snuck one behind Roberto Luongo. A lot of this is a lack of an ability to generate offence – Vancouver is 20th in the league in Chances/60 – but most of this is just bad luck too. Since December 1st, Vancouver is 29th in the NHL with a 5.5% team shooting percentage at 5-on-5.
  • Crease Catastrophe – Steve Mason has resurrected his career since joining the Philadelphia Flyers, but he’s out tonight due to a lower body injury. The Flyers will instead turn to Ray Emery, who is 7-7-1 on the year with an atrocious 0.889 save percentage. If there was ever a night for Vancouver’s shooters to look really good, it’s tonight.
  • Playoff Push – Vancouver’s recent three game slide has dropped them in to a tenuous position in the race for one of the final two wild card playoff spots. Another loss tonight coupled with a Calgary win over Arizona and a Dallas win over Winnipeg will leave the Canucks tied with Calgary for the final playoff spot and just two points up on the dangerous Stars. If the team’s goal is still to make the playoffs, then they can’t afford to keep dropping games.

Gameday Reading

  • BubbaZanetti

    Hoping many players break out of their slumps tonight.

    Still think they will get one of the wildcard spots, and the go down in the first round. But I think that is OK. Then they need to get rid of some players, like Higgins, Bieksa, stanton etc.

  • Chungus

    I have a question about PDO. I was under the impression that this stat had something to do with puck luck. I remember reading somewhere that if PDO was under 1000, the team is having a lot of bad bounces and we should see PDO move towards 1000. If PDO is above 1000, a team is having a lot of puck luck and we would expect it to regress.

    Maybe I’m remembering that wrong or what I said above only applies to individual PDO. Can someone clarify this for me. Thanks.

    • You are more or less correct, although we can expect slight deviations from the mean to exist due to variations in team or individual talent.

      As for why the PDO is bad, Vancouver is still near the bottom of the NHL in goaltending, but that’s steadily been improving as Miller regresses. They are among the worst shooting teams in the NHL too, and this has persisted for the better part of two seasons now, which is concerning.

      The follow up to the “Why They Will Miss the Playoffs” article will cover these things in more detail.