Mar 152014
 

Lose a bunch, win one, lose one, win one, lose two – the story of the Canucks’ 2013/2014 season.

The Canucks did play well. Even their power play looked like a real power play with scoring chances and stuff you should expect to have when you have one more guy on the ice than the other team does. But we’re way past the point of relishing moral victories. And with last night’s 4-3 loss to the Washington Capitals – and the Dallas Stars getting a point against the Calgary Flames – they fall further back of the playoff picture.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 292014
 
Tonight the Canucks play their third game in four nights, and possibly their most difficult. The Chicago Blackhawks are in town for a 7:30 pm/pst puck-drop. (Photo Credit vancouversun.com)

Tonight the Canucks play their third game in four nights, and possibly their most difficult. Rivalries are sure to boil over as the Chicago Blackhawks play the Vancouver Canucks for the third time this season.
(Photo Credit vancouversun.com)

The Canucks and the Chicago Blackhawks usually bring the best out of each other. That’s hopefully the case tonight.

The fact is, neither team is playing their best hockey right now. The Canucks’ woes are well-documented, having lost 10 of their last 14 games, including a disheartening 4-2 loss to the last place Edmonton Oilers. Meanwhile, the Blackhawks, after dropping a 5-4 decision in OT to the Calgary Flames last night, have now lost 4 games in a row. They’ve also lost 6 of their last 7 road games (1-1-5), though despite that, the Blackhawks are still a top-3 team in the league and still lead the league in scoring (3.44 goals per game).

If the Canucks want to exploit anything, it’s that the Blackhawks are playing their 3rd game in 4 nights, and their 5th game in 8 nights. I guess that’s something.

Who’s Hot

With Henrik Sedin still out, and Daniel Sedin, Alex Burrows and Ryan Kesler snake-bitten, the Canucks have had to rely on everyone else to provide their offence. After returning from a lengthy stay on IR, Jordan Schroeder returned on Monday against the Oilers and scored both Canucks goals that night. Kevin Bieksa has also stepped up with 3 points in his past 2 games, including 2 goals – and the game-winning OT goal – against the Phoenix Coyotes on Sunday. Ditto Chris Higgins, who also had 3 points against the Coyotes.

For the Blackhawks, Marian Hossa scored twice last night against the Flames and has 4 goals in his past 5 games. Patrick Kane, who also scored last night, has 4 points in 3 games, and he currently sits 4th in the NHL in scoring (60 points).

Who’s Out

The Blackhawks have a healthy roster except for their backup goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin, who is out with a shoulder injury that required surgery.

For the Canucks, Hank is still out as are Mike Santorelli and Andrew Alberts. Tonight will be game 5 of John Tortorella’s suspension – he’ll miss 6 games while serving his 15-game suspension – and hopefully he’s relaxing in Hawaii or something.

TortsBeach

Jan 282014
 

After being out since October, Jordan Schroeder returned to the Canucks’ lineup last night and promptly made an impact. He scored his first 2 goals of the season – the Canucks’ only 2 goals of the night.

It’s too bad David Perron scored 3 goals himself, and the Canucks went on to drop a 4-2 decision to the Edmonton Oilers.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Jan 262014
 
Offense-schmoffense when push comes to shove, just eat your opponent.  (Photo Courtesy canucks.nhl.com)

Offense-schmoffense, when push comes to shove there’s no penalty for eating an opponent.
(Photo Courtesy of  canucks.nhl.com)

For the second time in just 10 days, the Canucks take on the Phoenix Coyotes. You may or may not remember their most recent meeting on January 16th. On the one hand hand, it was memorable for the sole reason that Martin Hanzal was a one-man wrecking crew for the Coyotes in the third period, taking out with Henrik Sedin, Mike Santorelli and David Booth with crosschecks. But then again, the game was boring as heck so we’ll forgive you if you stopped watching before Hanzal went all Donatello on the Canucks.

None of the three injured Canucks finished the game, and in fact, Hank and Santorelli remain out of the lineup, which has Dale Weise speculating some sort of response to Hanzal.

“I think we’re trying to build a team identity here that we don’t get pushed around,” Weise continued. “I think we stood up for ourselves good against Calgary. Dustin Brown kind of had to answer the bell there — and he did. I don’t think Dustin Brown had to drop the gloves but he was forced into it. Eventually if you get enough guys challenging you, I think the peer pressure kind of wears on you and you have to answer the bell.

“I’m not sure what’s going to happen tomorrow (with Hanzal). We have a lot of guys who might have a few choice words for him and then we’ll see what happens.”

Like against their games against the Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks the other week, the Canucks can’t let their emotions get the better of them. The Coyotes are hot on the Canucks’ tail in the Western Conference for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference; the Canucks have a slim 4-point lead on the Desert Dogs, who also has a game-in-hand on Vancouver.

Who’s Hot

If there’s any positives for the Canucks, it’s been their goaltending. They’re not scoring, but they’re staying in games thanks in large part to Roberto Luongo and Eddie Lack, both of whom are in the top 10 in the NHL in GAA and save percentage. The Canucks have the 7th best goals against per game in the league (2.38), and Luongo, specifically, is looking better than ever and has a 0.949 save percentage in his last 4 starts.

Up front, tough guy Dale Weise has 2 assists in his past 2 games, and for the Coyotes, Mike Ribeiro, who leads the Coyotes in scoring, has 4 points (2 goals and 2 assists) in a 3-game point streak.

Who’s Out

Henrik Sedin remains day-to-day with a rib injury and is expected to miss tonight’s game. Mike Santorelli remains out with a shoulder injury and Andrew Alberts remains out with a concussion. Jordan Schroeder, who has missed most of the season with an ankle injury, will not play tonight, but did start his conditioning assignment and played for the Utica Comets on Friday and Saturday against the Abbotsford Heat.

Oct 302013
 

Luongo looks to remain calm, cool and collected against the forceful red wings tonight in Vancouver.  (Credit thescore.com)

Luongo looks to remain calm, cool and collected against the forceful red wings tonight in Vancouver.
(Credit thescore.com)

Formerly bonded by the Western Conference, the Canucks look to take on the struggling Detroit Red Wings tonight at 7:30 PM. The Red Wings, having won only 6 of their last 12 games, seem like easy pickings for the Canucks. However, the Red Wings won 2 of 3 games in the season series last season and outscored the Canucks 14-7. Detroit is in for a ride with the always interesting, Tortorella-driven team, the Canucks will get the early lead tonight in Vancouver. (Power of suggestion works right?).

What to watch

The scoreboard. The Canucks have gotten into an anxiety-inducing habit of having to come from behind in the third period. Maybe scoring an early goal or two and maintaining a lead can help lot of premature heart attacks

Also keep an eye on the penalty box. The referees have made a few Canuck-deprecating calls so keeping momentum through those times will be key. The Red Wings’ powerplay ranks 11th in the NHL, clicking at 21.6%.

Who to watch

The Sedins against “brothers from another mother” Bertuzzi and Datsyuk. These first liners will match up their points against one another in the ultimate battle of “No I can do it better!”. Don’t let Bertuzzi and Datsyuk bully you Sedins, your mom has done only admirable things.

The Red Wings have moved their lines quite a bit, but seem to have settled with Datsyuk playing with Bertuzzi and Henrik Zetterberg, while Daniel Alfredsson will start on the second line with Stephen Weiss and Dan Cleary. Alfredsson currently leads the team with 8 assists. Both lines will cause trouble so this would be a good time for Kassian to activate “brick wall” mode and match their physicality.

For the Canucks, Ryan Kesler looks to extend his 5-game point streak. Now 3rd on the team in scoring (8 goals, 5 assists and 13 points) after a slow start, he’s played really well with the Hank and Dank, and their skill and his speed certainly complement each other. Kesler has never failed to impress in random bouts but consistency is what they need most from him.

Who’s out

The Wings have a few players out some with injuries. Johan Franzen is out with an undisclosed injury. Red Wings GM Ken Holland says odds are hopeful Franzen will be good for Friday’s game against Calgary, but the Canucks will not see him tonight. Darren Helm is out with back and groin injuries, Patrick Eaves is out with a leg injury, and their no. 1 goaltender Jimmy Howard won’t be in net because of an upper body injury. The Wings’ healthy scratches include former Canuck Mikael Samuelsson, Brendan Smith and youngster Tomas Tatar.

The Canucks have been plagued with injuries as well. Jordan Schroeder is out 2 more months with an ankle injury, Dale Weise and Jannik Hansen are both out for 3-4 weeks, and David Booth is out for 1-2 more weeks.

Mar 222013
 

The Canucks are battered and bruised, but made it to Phoenix. Well most of them did. Steve Pinizzotto and Zack Kassian did not. Chris Higgins did, but tweaked his back in the morning and couldn’t play. At this point they really just need to hold on and bubble wrap everyone. At all times.

Now, on to the game.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Mar 122013
 

Matt Calvert, Columbus Blue Jackets vs Cory Schneider, Vancouver Canucks

Photo credit: Lancaster Eagle Gazette

The Vancouver Canucks have easily dominated the Northwest Division in recent years. Heck, they’ve dominated it early this season, going 6-2-1 in their first 9 games against NW foes to-date (versus a 4-5-6 record against the rest of the Western Conference). But after a lackluster effort in Minnesota a couple of days ago, the Canucks have allowed the Wild to pass them in the standings.

In fact, at the halfway point of this shortened season, the Canucks have just 28 points in 24 games – good for a 6th place with 3 other teams in the Western Conference – and only 4 points up from tonight’s opponent, the Columbus Blue Jackets. They’ve been wildly inconsistent, especially in the last couple of weeks, and the frustration is clearly mounting among the team’s faithful.

In the meantime, the Blue Jackets are in the midst of one of their more successful stretches in their franchise’s history. Fresh off sweeping the Detroit Red Wings in a home-and-home series this past weekend, and unbeaten in their last 7 games (5-0-2), they are currently the NHL’s hottest team.

Add to that, they have the NHL’s hottest goalie. On Monday, Sergei Bobrovsky was named the NHL’s first star of the week after going 4-0-0 with a 0.77 GAA and 0.972 save percentage.

Think the Philadelphia Flyers are having a bit of seller’s remorse right now?

And as for the Canucks’ own goalies, well, right now, they’re struggling to make the critical saves at critical points in the game. Like, in the game’s first minute or so.

Canucks Record

24 GP, 11-7-6, 28 points (2nd in Northwest Division, 6th in Western Conference

Who’s Hot

After going goalless in the first 13 games of the season, Henrik Sedin has a 3-game goal scoring streak and a 7-game point streak (4G-5A-9P). Chris Higgins has 4 goals in his last 7 games.

For the Blue Jackets, Nick Foligno has 7 points (1G-6A) in his last 7 games. RJ Umberger has a 3-game point streak (2G-1A-3P).

Quickies

  • Roberto Luongo gets the start. (Vancouver Province)
  • Jordan Schroeder has been sent back down to the Chicago Wolves. It’ll be up to Andrew Ebbett now to get Dale Weise and Tom Sestito going. (TSN)
  • Manny Malhotra is also heading to Chicago to help the Canucks prospects with faceoffs. (Vancouver Sun)
Feb 112013
 

The Canucks are back from a short two-game roadtrip where they potted four solid points and are looking to douse the Flames.

And with Chris Golden manning the CHB TGATT desk tonight, you all know what that means:

That’s right. Top Freaking Gun!

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 082013
 

The Canucks are in Minnesota, the second – and last – stop of their mini two-game road trip.

Zach Parise would now like his name to be pronounced ‘Par-easy’. Obviously, everyone makes fun of him for his pronunciation preferences.

Remember when Cody Hodgson tried to correct all of our pronunciations of his last name? Good times.

Read more #TGATT goodness past the jump.

Feb 042013
 

Nail Yakupov, Edmonton Oilers

I think we’re finally starting to see signs of life from our Vancouver Canucks.

They played this week with some consistency, a lot of physicality, and while they still can’t put the puck in the net as much as they’d like, it’s helped them to a 2-0-1 record.

They started the week with a heartbreaking shootout loss to the LA Kings. The Canucks built a 2-0 lead, but couldn’t convert on the powerplay to put the Kings away, allowing the Kings to come back and steal the game in the shootout.

On Wednesday, the Canucks continued their dominance against the Colorado Avalanche with a tidy, 60-minute effort, Roberto Luongo’s 61st career shutout, and a 3-0 win.

On Friday, they faced the rival Chicago Blackhawks. After an intense lead up, most expected a physical and ugly game, but none of the rough stuff materialized. By the end of it, the Canucks didn’t exact their revenge on Duncan Keith and instead came away with the 2 points. Jordan Schroeder experienced his first big NHL moment as he snuck one past Corey Crawford’s five-hole for the shootout winner in his first shootout attempt.

Record

8 GP, 4-2-2, 10 points (1st in Northwest Division, 3rd in Western Conference)

Who’s Next

Monday, February 4, 2013 at Edmonton Oilers (6:30 PM start)

After being named the NHL’s 3rd Star of the Week, Roberto Luongo will get his 4th consecutive start in goal. Bobby Luo has looked like vintage Luo of late. With great positional play and timing, he seems to be making key saves at key times.

The Oilers, who currently sit in 2nd place in the Northwest Division, won the two teams’ first meeting back in January, so look for the Canucks to come out strong and get some payback.

Sam Gagner (3G-6A) and Taylor Hall (2G-7A) are both tied for the team lead with 9 points. Rookie sensation and the master of cellys, Nail Yakupov, leads the team with 5 goals.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 at Minnesota Wild (5:00 PM)

With the huge off season acquisitions of Ryan Suter and Zach Parise, the Minnesota Wild have their sights set on competing for the Northwest division title. Mike Rupp, acquired today from the NY Rangers, will add some veteran savvy and toughness and will join his new team for this game.

Zach Parise leads the team in goals (5) and points (9) in 8 games played.

The Canucks took 10 of a possible 12 points (4-0-2) against the Wild last season. They were led by Daniel Sedin’s 10 points (3G-7A) and plus-2 rating. Kyle Brodziak and Devin Setoguchi led the Wild with 2 goals and 2 assists each.

Saturday, February 9, 2013 vs. Calgary Flames (7:00 PM)

As of this writing, the Flames sit last in the Western Conference, to the surprise of no one, except maybe the Flames.

This will be the second meeting between the two clubs. Two weeks ago at Rogers Arena, the Canucks won in a shootout, paced by Zack Kassian, who scored a goal and the shootout winner.

Alex Tanguay leads the team with 6 points, but it has been the play of Jiri Hudler that has Flames fans excited. Hudler was brought in for top-6 production and he has done exactly that with 5 points (2G-3A) in just 3 games played.

%d bloggers like this: