Mar 012014
 

Sure, the game had its moments. Like Ryan Kesler scoring – shorthanded – in his first game back from injury, in his first game since word got out that he had requested a trade out of Vancouver. Like Eddie Lack standing on his head again, allowing just one goal for the 6th time in his last 8 starts. Like Keith Ballard returning to Rogers Arena (playing in the game and not sitting in the press box).

But let’s be reality here. Canucks vs. Wild games aren’t the most exciting games at the best of times, and last night’s was no different. Perhaps fittingly, it ended in an extra long shootout – seven rounds, to be exact – that was only extra long because no one could score.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 272014
 

Welcome back from the Olympic break, Canucks fans.

How about we break that 7-game losing streak, eh?

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 262014
 
(Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

(Photo Credit: The Canadian Press/Darryl Dyck)

With Team Canada’s gold medal performance in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi still fresh in our minds, it’s time once again to try and focus on the battle for Lord Stanley’s Cup. The quick change-over from teammates to opponents to teammates again is all part of the Olympic experience. But now that their country’s flag on the front of their jersey has been replaced with the NHL logos, it’s time to reacquaint themselves for the stretch run. That means, no more giveaways, *ahem* Daniel Sedin, though Canada appreciated the assist on Sunday morning. In all, 10 St. Louis Blues players and 7 Vancouver Canucks players were on Olympic rosters, and all, save for a few exceptions, should be back on the ice tonight at Rogers Arena.

Tonight marks the start of a 3-game homestand for the Canucks. Believe it or not, despite their troubles this season, the Canucks have won every meeting against the Blues this season. Sure their last matchup, back on January 10th, was in the midst of better times for the Canucks, but what the hey, with how the last couple of months have turned out, it’s good to cling on to something good.

The Canucks have 22 games left this season, and as we speak, they’re outside the playoff picture. But if we were to look for reason for hope, they’re also still within striking distance of a wild card spot and the 3rd seed in the Pacific Division. In fact, a couple of points tonight could move them back into the playoff picture, although the teams around them all have games in hand.

The Bachelor

With fresh legs, the well-rested Eddie Lack will be in goal tonight to give Roberto Luongo the night off.

Lack had a good two weeks. Well, mostly. He did get to watch The Bachelor, but he also had time to make – and lose – an ill-fated bet.

I wish I was kidding.  (twitter.com/eddielack)

(twitter.com/eddielack)

I wish I was kidding.

Ironman 2

Henrik Sedin is expected to play tonight after missing 9 games with a rib injury. Of course, the injury kept him off Team Sweden for the Olympics, but I heard they did alright without him.

Not-So-Wonder Twins

Hank hasn’t scored a goal in 19 games; Daniel hasn’t scored one in 17 games. Their usual linemate, Alex Burrows hasn’t scored, well, since last season. It really doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why the Canucks are 24th in the league in scoring.

The Missing

Ryan Kesler won’t play tonight and is day-to-day with a hand injury. Chris Tanev, Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts are no-gos as well.

For the Blues, Jordan Leopold and Vladimir Sobotka will not be in the lineup tonight.

Feb 062014
 


(Photo credit: vansunsportsblogs.com)

2014 has been anything but kind to the Vancouver Canucks with a plethora of losses peppering their game calendar. Questions are virtually everywhere with every fan and their dog voicing their idea for a quick fix or easy solution. The defence has looked slow and the forwards are virtually non-existent when it comes to providing offence. Coaching has been an issue and player morale hasn’t been this low in over five years. The team is in turmoil.

But one area which, for the past two years, has been the focal point of gossip has remained static and solid. The goaltending debacle of the past two years has come to an end with a true starting and backup goalie program finally intact. The symbiosis between Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack has been a bright spot in an otherwise, underwhelming 2013-2014 season. Lack, in particular, has been a pleasant surprise taking the reins when needed and providing highlight reel saves night in and night out. Here’s hoping Eddie can somehow provide a spark for a team desperately searching for life.

So here’s a little chicken soup for the weary Canuck fan’s soul – the top 5 Eddie Lack saves:

5) Eddie Lack vs. Cam Atkinson - Lack shows his flexibility and long leg reach making a horizontal stop against a streaking Cam Atkinson.

<

3) Eddie Lack vs. Ben Smith – This dude belongs on the runway with legs this long. The young Swede pushes across and outwaits Ben Smith for another remarkable pad stuff.

2) Eddie Lack vs. Bryan Little – Who needs a glove and blocker? Lack denies Bryan Little with terrific anticipation through traffic.

1) Eddie Lack vs. Brad Richards – Finally a save that doesn’t involve a pad. Lack casually bats this puck out of the yawning cage with his paddle in a game against the rangers. Talk about hand-eye.

Feb 042014
 

456606403_slide
(Photo Credit: canucks.nhl.com)

Vancouver Canucks (27-21-9) at Boston Bruins (35-16-3)

Remember when the Canucks met the Boston Bruins last time in December? Remember how good they looked in beating them 6-2 at Rogers Arena?

Neither do I.

As good as the Canucks were that night, they’ve been far from outstanding since then. Since scoring 6 goals that night, they’ve scored just 42 goals in 22 games – for those counting at home, that’s a 1.91 goals per game average over an entire quarter of a season. They were shut out by the Detroit Red Wings last night – the third time they’ve been shut out in the last 11 games – and they’ve now lost 4 games in a row. Or more importantly, they’ve only won 4 games since the calendar turned to 2014.

On the other hand, the Bruins seem to be doing okay. They’ve won 3 of their last 4 games, and don’t seem to have a problem finding the back of the net; their 3 wins were by scores of 6-3, 6-2 and 4-0.

#silverlinings

If there are any silver linings in the Canucks’ recent play, it’s that Eddie Lack and Roberto Luongo have consistently shown up and given their team at least a chance to stay in games.

Eddie Lack has been great. Last night against the Red Wings, he made 28 saves on 29 shots, many of them of the sensational variety. In his last 6 starts, he’s allowed just 1 goal in 4 of them; but in perhaps what typifies the Canucks’ offensive woes right now, they somehow managed to win just 1 of those 4 games.

After Lack started the last two games, Roberto Luongo will be back in net tonight. His save percentage (0.920) and GAA (2.30) this season are still among the top of the league. He stopped 41 of 43 shots against the Bruins in December; however, he hasn’t played in Boston since the 2011 Stanley Cup Finals. For those of you who have repressed those memories already, Lu gave up 15 goals on 66 shots and was pulled twice in 3 starts.

Dun dun dun.

The objects in your rear view mirror are closer than they appear.

As the Canucks continue to struggle, their grasp on the final wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference is also weakening. After last night’s game, they’re a single point ahead of the 9th place Phoenix Coyotes, who, by the way, hold two games in hand over the Canucks. They’re also only 4 points up on the Dallas Stars, Nashville Predators and Winnipeg Jets, who are all tied with 59 points and currently hold 10th, 11th and 12th place, respectively, in the Western Conference.

Feb 012014
 

4-9-2.

After losing 4-3 to the Winnipeg Jets last night, allowing Devin Setoguchi to score the game-winning goal with 3 minutes left in the third period, that’s the Canucks’ record in January.

4 wins. 11 losses.

And like cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the fudge on this January crap cake, they also lost Henrik Sedin, Mike Santorelli, Kevin Bieksa and Chris Tanev to long-term injuries.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 182014
 
After a tough trip the Canucks are back at Rogers Arena taking on division rivals the Calgary Flames.  (Photo Credit: canucks.nhl.com)

After a tough road trip the Canucks are back at Rogers Arena taking on division rivals the Calgary Flames.
(Photo Credit: canucks.nhl.com)

After a rough, tough road trip that left them beaten physically, and perhaps, mentally and emotionally, the Vancouver Canucks are left nursing their wounds and Canucks fans wondering what it would it take to right the ship. The Canucks lost all 3 games on their just-concluded road trip, including one of their worst losses in memory, a 9-1 ass-kicking at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. They scored a grand total of 1 goal in those 3 games, and to make matters worse, may have lost Henrik Sedin, their leading scorer, and Mike Santorelli, their fourth-leading goal scorer, to injuries. Oh, and David Booth too.

Perhaps the day off will help. And with 5 of their next 6 games at home, so may perhaps their return to the friendlier of Rogers Arena. It doesn’t hurt either that tonight’s opponents, the Calgary Flames are one of only two teams with a worst record than the Canucks have over the last 10 games.

Who’s Hot

Truth be told, no one from either team. With both the Canucks and Flames struggling to put the puck in the back of the net, they’re relying on their respective goaltenders right now.

The game against the Ducks aside, Eddie Lack has actually held up the fort well in Roberto Luongo’s absence. He’s allowed just a single goal against in 3 of his last 4 starts. Luongo, however, may be returning tonight.

For the Flames, Karri Ramo will likely get the start after Reto Berra let in 5 goals on 23 shots in Calgary’s last game on Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets. Ramo started back-to-back games earlier this week against the Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes; against the Canes, he recorded his first NHL shutout.

Who’s Back

Aside from Luongo, Alex Burrows is also back in the lineup for the first time since suffering a jaw injury in December.

Who’s Out

Mike Santorelli left Phoenix with his right arm in a sling and isn’t expected to play. After suffering a rib injury (also against the Coyotes), Henrik Sedin is a game-time decision, which puts his 679-game, NHL ironman streak in jeopardy. Jordan Schroeder, Andrew Alberts, and Ryan Stanton are still out; however, Schroeder and Stanton skated today.

For the Flames, Michael Cammalleri and Curtis Glencross remain sidelined.

Jan 162014
 

As far as spectacular losses go – and as we all know, the Canucks have had more than their fair share of spectacular losses – surely last night’s 9-1 ass-kicking by the Anaheim Ducks must rank among their most spectacular.


Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 152014
 
Looking for some "Sedinary", the Canucks finish their California road trip tonight in Anaheim.  (Photo Credit huffingtonpost.ca)

Looking for some Sedinery, the Canucks finish their California road trip tonight in Anaheim.
(Photo Credit huffingtonpost.ca)

It’s another Pacific Division battle tonight as the Vancouver Canucks and the Anaheim Ducks meet again at the Honda Center for the third time this season. The Canucks lost the first two meetings, including one on January 5th in which they a gave up the game-tying goal with 87 seconds left in the third period and the game-winning goal with 1.3 seconds left in overtime.

The Ducks are hot, hot, hot. They’ve won 7 straight games and have vaulted to the top of the league, past the Chicago Blackhawks. They’ve been unstoppable at home. After their 1-0 shutout of the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday, their home ice record now stands at an impressive 19-0-2; the league record for points-streak on home ice to start the season is 26 games.

The Canucks lost a well-fought game against the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night, but were pleased with how their physicality. The Canucks are going to need more that tonight, especially as big Ryan Getzlaf, who sits 4th overall in the NHL in scoring (23 goals, 30 assists, 53 points in 44 games played) will return from injury tonight.

What’s Hot

On Monday night against the Kings, the Canucks had 69 minutes of penalties and gave LA almost 15 minutes of power play time. The Canucks managed to kill them all, and their league-best penalty kill continues to stand strong with a PK rate of 89.7%.

Who’s Hot

Despite the Canucks’ skid, Eddie Lack has certainly done his part, allowing just one goal against in each of his past two games. With Roberto Luongo still on the mend (according to Torts, he remains day-to-day), Lack has remained strong in net, and his 2.12 goals against average and .924 save percentage are among the league’s leaders (8th and 11th, respectively).

On the other end of the rink, Ducks’ goaltender Jonas Hiller hasn’t lost a game since December 3rd – a 14-game win streak – and has a sparkling 1.97 goals against average during this time. His is so far the second longest-winning streak in NHL history for a goaltender, 3 wins back of the NHL record.

Who’s Out

Roberto Luongo remains day-to-day, while Ryan Stanton, Jordan Schroeder, Andrew Alberts are all on injured reserve. Alex Burrows will not play tonight against the Ducks, but should return by Saturday against the Calgary Flames.

Luca Sbisa, Bryan Allen, Sheldon Souray, and Viktor Fasth all remain on injured reserve for Anaheim.

Jan 112014
 

The Canucks got their offense from some unlikely combinations last night. Zac Dalpe, playing with the Sedins, opened the scoring early in the second period, and playing on a line with Darren Archibald and Dale Weise, Mike Santorelli scored the game-winning goal in the third period.

The Blues pressed in the final minute of the game though. And oh man, did they press hard. But at the end of it, the Canucks held on and won 2-1, breaking a 5-game losing streak.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

%d bloggers like this: