Welcome to a Super Bowl Sunday edition of your regular Canucks Army GDT (and Thom Drance’s official first day as Nation Network Overlord)! With kickoff in Arizona set for 3:30 PM PST, this afternoon’s Canucks game has been bumped half an hour earlier to noon Pacific, meaning our coverage today is a bit compressed. Still, we’ve got you covered.
The Canucks can’t afford to be distracted by this afternoon’s main event either, as today’s game against the Minnesota Wild is critical for burying a would-be playoff contender. Despite sitting in last in the Central division, a loss to the Wild would put Minnesota just 5 points back of the Canucks with over 30 games still to play. And considering that Minnesota may be the most likely team to go on a stretch-drive tear, this is a game Vancouver has to win.
Read past the jump for a preview.
Puck Drop: 12:00 PM PST
TV: Sportsnet Pacific
Radio: TSN 1040
Go to www.DailyFaceoff.com for up-to-date rosters, news, and lineup info.
Head to Head
- Back On Track – The Canucks snapped their home ice goalless drought emphatically on Friday, putting four pucks past Sabres goalie Matt Hackett en route to a 5-2 victory. They also stomped Buffalo in the puck possession battle 60-16, pulling their score adjusted Corsi in the last 10 games up from 20th in the NHL at 48.8% all the way to 13th at 52.0%. Hopefully Friday’s game serves as a confidence boost and can kick-start the Canucks to some better efforts going forward. They’ll need one tomorrow, as Minnesota is a very dangerous team despite sitting last in the Central division.
- No Luck Wild – According to the “luck” quantifying tool on Rob Vollman’s website, the Minnesota Wild are the third unluckiest team in the entire NHL. Most of this has to do with receiving just awful goaltending, necessitating a trade for Devan Dubnyk. The Oilers cast-off has been solid in the Wild net, but the results in terms of wins and losses haven’t quite been there yet. Still, a steady goalie will help boost the Wild’s 5-on-5 GoalsFor% towards where their strong Score Adjusted Corsi% is, and it will also help improve their already extremely effective penalty kill. Some shooting percentage regression will also help their powerplay, making the Wild into a team to look out for coming down the stretch. If anyone other than Dallas is going to take a run at the last wild card spot, it’s Minnesota.
- Clendening’s Debut – After arriving in Vancouver from Rockford during the Canucks’ last game, newly acquired Adam Clendening is expected to make his Vancouver Canucks debut playing along side Luca Sbisa. I wouldn’t expect much out of a pairing of Luca Sbisa and a guy playing his 5th NHL game at even strength, but hopefully Clendening gets some powerplay reps so he can flex his offensive muscles. The Canucks have lacked a really mobile point producer since Christian Ehrhoff left, and haven’t had a steady right-handed powerplay D since Sami Salo.