Canucks Army GDT #66: Canucks vs. Ducks

After pulling a rather lucky win out of the fire on Saturday, the Canucks return home to face another California rival tonight as Ryan Kesler and the Pacific division leading Anaheim Ducks come to town. Read past the jump for a preview of tonight’s game.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Defensive Pairings
Alexander Edler 
Alexander Edler
Chris Tanev 
Chris Tanev
Dan Hamhuis 
Dan Hamhuis
Luca Sbisa 
Luca Sbisa
Ryan Stanton 
Ryan Stanton
Frank Corrado 
Frank Corrado

Nick Bonino is a game time decision, but is expected to play. Ronalds Kenins will likely sit again as a healthy scratch. Frank Corrado draws in for Adam Clendening. Chris Higgins will be out “a while” according to Willie Desjardins. Chris Tanev returns to the lineup. Eddie Lack will start in goal.

Defensive Pairings
Hampus Lindholm 
Hampus Lindholm
Francois Beauchemin 
Francois Beauchemin
Cam Fowler 
Cam Fowler
Simon Despres 
Simon Despres
Clayton Stoner 
Clayton Stoner
Josh Manson 
Josh Manson

James Wisniewski is questionable with a foot injury. He has not yet suited up for Anaheim since being acquired from Columbus.

Head to Head

G66 v ANA

Storylines

  • Tanev Returns – The Canucks will welcome one of the NHL’s best defensive defensemen back to their lineup tonight as Chris Tanev returns from injury. Tanev has been perhaps the largest driving force behind one of the NHL’s best penalty kills this season, and Vancouver’s underlying shorthanded performance rapidly deteriorated with him out of the lineup. Getting him back is absolutely critical for making any sort of postseason push.
  • Higgins, Kenins, Clendening Shelved – While the team awaits the return of Brad Richardson, another one of their key penalty killers in Chris Higgins will be out “a while” per coach Willie Desjardins. Ronalds Kenins and Adam Clendening will also be healthy scratches for some reason, as Brandon McMillan and Frank Corrado draw in. Derek Dorsett, who is a team-low minus-38 for scoring chances since the All-Star break, is safe from being scratched though. Go figure.
  • Return of Kesler, Part II – Ryan Kesler once again makes his way back to Rogers Arena in hopes of helping to continue Anaheim’s recent domination of the Canucks. In their past 10 games, the Ducks are 8-0-2 against Vancouver, including a 3-0-1 record this season. Kesler currently sits 3rd on the Ducks in scoring with 17 goals and 24 assists and leads the team in shorthanded ice time per game.
      • ikillchicken

        I’m actually pretty okay with that second one. Until we get Richardson back anyway. Vey is hardly an effective player right now. But Vey as the 4C is worth it if it means we can keep Matthias at wing alongside Bonino on the 2nd line.

        Also, why are we all thinking Kenins is the odd man out? If he’s practicing with Horvat while McMillan is filling in for the (probably playing) Bonino I would assume McMillan is the one who will actually be the scratch, no?

      • I think that’s a bad decision, but Sbisa’s at least a bona-fide NHL defenceman (albeit one who should probably never play above the third pairing). Kenins is being scratched in favour of a guy who was waived by the Coyotes and who has been absolutely killed at evens in his handful of games this year.

        • I agree it doesn’t make sense Kenins over Macmillan when you look at Kenins physical and offensive play.

          MacMillan does make the safe play more often and Kenins has been burnt recently taking risks with the puck and I think it has more to do with this than anything else. I would prefer Kenins in but trust WD to coach the kid properly.

    • ikillchicken

      Maybe WD is pacing the new players? Remember that Vey, Clendening and Kenins are all rookies and not playing games and working hard at practice could be good for hockey players as they transition up to the NHL.

      For example, if you read about junior vs. NCAA recruitment, a purported advantage of the NCAA path is that they play fewer games and practice more – the idea being that you can develop a better skills foundation through practice rather than by playing games. If this is true, then maybe pulling out the rookies and letting them acclimatize (and also, as not to have fans build unreasonable expectations) can be a good thing.

      • Maybe, but at this point in the season in the position the Canucks are in, the coach should be icing the best lineup he possibly can every night.

        When you’ve locked down a playoff spot or been eliminated is the time to start juggling players in and out of the lineup for reasons other than trying to win the game.

      • ikillchicken

        I think this is part of it. Benning et al seem to be developing their players properly. This would include working for your opportunity and so on. I think Kassian is a fine example of why SOME players need to be developed slowly. I really do believe Kassian would be a better player today if he spent more time in the minors and had to work/deserve a promotion.

        I think the process continues even when with the Canucks. Vey, Clendening, Kenins and Horvat are still learning.

  • ikillchicken

    Wow, Anaheim’s goal differential is incredibly low for how many points they have. In this regard they are behind both Calgary and Minnesota, who are 14 and 12 points back in the standings, respectively. They are also behind the top 3 teams in the central division.
    That is crazy.
    If they win the president’s trophy, they will likely do it with the lowest goal differential in recent memory (I checked all the way back to 1990, and didn’t see any president’s trophy winners with less than +51 goal differential, so not even close!).

    This makes me feel somewhat less scared of them if we face them in the playoffs.

  • I really have trouble understanding why Kenins is sitting instead of McMillian. Clendening has also proven to be a great puck mover and steady Dman… Only thought is Stanton has more experience.

    If the Canucks have a chance tonight or in the playoffs, they have to get off to better starts. Both the team and Eddie…. Eddie seems to lock in after giving up one or two early, but you can’t do that against top teams.

    Canucks have saved their best for the best teams, let’s see it tonight!