Canucks Army GDT #67 – Canucks vs. Kings

Vancouver continues their homestand on Thursday night, playing host to the Los Angeles Kings. The Kings are currently sitting on the outside looking in to the playoffs and are getting desperate for wins, but given their strong underlying numbers and history of success when the going gets tough, they still represent Vancouver’s most likely opponent in round one of this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Read past the jump for a look at tonight’s potential playoff preview.

Broadcast Info

Puck Drop: 7:00 PM PST

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

Radio: TSN 1040

Lineups

Ronalds Kenins draws back in for Brandon McMillan. Eddie Lack makes his 10th straight start.

Tanner Pearson and Alec Martinez are on IR. Jonathan Quick will start in goal.

Head to Head

G67 v LAK

Storylines

  • Kenins Returns – After a brief but all-too-lengthy absence from Vancouver’s lineup, Ronalds Kenins returns tonight in the place of Brandon McMillan. Kenins’ play this season has been nothing short of fantastic, as he has been a massive part of turning the Canucks 4th line from an area of weakness to one of the most effective bottom-3 units in the entire NHL. In fact, Kenins, Horvat, and Hansen have been so effective together that they’ve legitimately performing like Vancouver’s second line since January – a massive boon to a club that looks to rely on its depth.
  • Kings of the Pacific – Though they’ve struggled at times this season thanks to their usual lack of offensive punch and struggles from Jonathan Quick, it would be a mistake to discount the L.A. Kings as has-beens and former contenders. They’re still incredibly dangerous this season, and with all due respect to the Calgary Flames, the most likely matchup for Vancouver in round 1 of the playoffs. It’s pretty unfortunate for the Canucks since the Kings have absolutely owned this matchup, winning both meetings this season and going 7-3-0 in their past 10 games against Vancouver.
  • No Lack of Playing Time – Eddie Lack will start again tonight, as Ryan Miller is still a number of weeks away from returning to action. This will be Lack’s 10th straight start, as Willie Desjardins does his best John Tortorella impression and rides his de-facto number one keeper with an unproven Jacob Markstrom on the bench. Lack has more than held up his end of the bargain, providing Vancouver with elite goaltending since Ryan Miller was felled by Jannik Hansen. His save percentage on the year has now broken the 0.920 mark, which is good for 16th among goalies with 20 or more games played – real good numbers for an NHL starter.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING…

From the Royal Half…

Any fan who has been conscious for the past few weeks or have even glanced at the standings can tell you that tonight is a pretty important game. Coming into Thursday’s action, the Kings trail the Canucks by three points in the Pacific Division standings – a gap that if closed will greatly aid Los Angeles’ playoff chances. Both teams have 16 games remaining on their respective schedules, with tonight being the first of three games the teams will play against one another.

So, to summarize, a couple wins against the Canucks would be a major help in the Kings’ efforts to leapfrog Vancouver in the standings and cementing themselves into a playoff spot. And at this a time when they are already coping with Calgary conspiracy theories and Devan Dubnyk’s bid for the Hart Trophy, it’s safe to say Los Angeles fans are looking for any help they can possibly get…

  • Vanoxy

    Eddie Lack’s 10th straight start except for the 3 goals on 4 shots that have been erased from the collective memory of CA?

    I know he played pretty much the whole game against San Jose, but it’s his 4th consecutive start. You can’t make a point about Willie D riding him when he did give a start to Markstrom last week…

  • Hopefully we’ll see Markstrom get a start or two in the next week against one of the bottom feeders the Canucks are playing. He needs a legitimate shot and Lack needs a rest.

    Also Sloth is right, Markstrom did start the game in San Jose. This is Lack’s 10th straight game, but not his 10th straight start.

  • Ruprecht

    Great to see Kenins back in. Can’t wait to see what that line brings. Must win for both teams, so it should be playoff like hockey. Time for some battle testing for the young guys.

  • This was a REAL GOOD GDT.

    The Canucks are going to need a REAL GOOD effort to beat the Kings, who, I’m sorry to say, are REAL GOOD.

    Let’s hope they can pull another one out of their nether regions and steal another game from a Californian team. Because the Canucks have been playing REAL BAD despite winning lately.

  • I watched the Kings vs Avs a couple of days ago. Needless to say the Kings are as dirty and physical as ever.

    The Canucks need to focus on the following keys of the game:

    1. Initiate rather than Retaliate
    2. Even up the special team chances PK and PP
    3. Turnovers (get pucks in deep and out at both blue lines)

    Canucks 3 Kings 2 preferably in regulation time. Go Canucks Go!