Five points of interest ahead of puck-drop for tonight's game between the Canucks and the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
1. Vancouver will be tasked with the challenge of keeping some of the Ducks' best players off the scoresheet. Both Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry have contributed elsewhere, but the dynamic duo are struggling in the goal department. Perry has not scored in 15 games, while Getzlaf has only one in that column over his last 11. Vancouver would love to prolong their struggles and worry about attacking some of the other deadly depth the Ducks can put forth.
2. Continuing to play without top defensive pair Alex Edler and Chris Tanev due to injury, the Canucks managed the blueline corps quite well in the last game. Facing the Wild, Ben Hutton stepped up and played 24:27 but the remainder of the minutes were spread out quite effectively. Troy Stecher stayed under 20 and Erik Gudbrason had his minutes managed to that number, as well. The Ducks offer the challenge of having a veteran lineup, being ready to score and not afraid to pummel you in the corners. Vancouver must take advantage of having the line change card in their pocket and cycle through their six defenders to balance the attack and manage some of the bumps and bruises coming their way.
3. Faceoffs could play another big role in tonight’s affair. Since adding Manny Malhotra to the staff, the Canucks have seen immediate positive results in the faceoff dot. Vancouver enters seventh in the league in faceoff percentage, at just better than 50 per cent as a team. Brandon Sutter, Bo Horvat and Henrik Sedin have all taken over 300 draws and each have a percentage of better then 50. Tonight they face a Ducks team who are number one in the NHL in this category. Anaheim boasts Antoine Vermette at better than 66 per cent effectiveness and Ryan Kesler comes in just below that. Following them, the top line forces opponents to deal with Getzlaf. A challenge will be starting with the puck tonight. If the Canucks can figure out a way to do that, it could go a long way in putting together a win.
4. Vancouver surprised many by springing out of the gates and winning four straight games to open their season. A victory tonight would represent the longest consecutive streak put together since that opening spell of games. A win would also set up the chance to sweep a homestand for the first time since those early October dates. Vancouver also has the proverbial four-point game on the line, resting four points back of the Ducks and only three points back of a Wild Card spot. The Canucks already dropped their first meeting of the season against Anaheim and divisional games will be key in trying to move up in the standings.
5. Fantastic news was delivered prior to the Canucks and Ducks facing off tonight. Hockey Canada, aligned with the IIHF, will play the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championship in Vancouver and Victoria. With a lot of hard work put into a successful bidding process that the Canucks organization was a part of, Vancouver and Victoria fans will now get to enjoy watching the top talent in their country and others on display in only a few years time. After winning junior gold in Vancouver back in 2006, current Ducks forward Andrew Cogliano said it “was one of THE highlights of my career”. TSN on both the television and radio side will be your home for that championship, as they will this year in Toronto and Montreal.
Game info: 7pmPT with @HockeyAbbs/@DTSN1040
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