Canucks Army GDT #48 – Canucks vs. Wild

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.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 12:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Go to www.DailyFaceoff.com for up-to-date rosters, news, and lineup info.

Head to Head

G48 v MIN

Storylines

  • 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.
And lastly, go Seahawks!

  • Seeing Clendening’s debut should be interesting.

    Offsides is right though, teams like the Wild are going to be bringing it every night trying to make up points in a chance for a playoff spot. If the Canucks just throw their gear on the ice and expect to win…. It ain’t going to happen. The Canucks aren’t the biggest team, but they can’t play small. The need it hit and create turnovers with hustle. Scoring is a problem because of where the shots are coming from. Outside shots and fancy goals are entertaining, but most goals in the NHL, around 65%, are scored in close, in the slot. Tough goals break scoring droughts.

    If Canucks are all standing around the outside waiting for a perfect pass and a perfect shot…. They won’t score many goals.