Vancouver Canucks Week #13 Outlook: Home Sweet Home


The Vancouver Canucks have six games left at home over the next 15 days, looking to ride their latest winning ways.

The Vancouver Canucks are back home from a 2-3-1 road trip. But, more importantly, with the win Saturday over the Edmonton Oilers, they have won two one-goal games in a row and are now 3-0-1 in their last four games.

More from The Canuck Way

The Canucks will be missing the services of Jake Virtanen (WJC loan), Luca Sbisa (hand), Brandon Sutter (sports hernia operation), and Dan Hamhuis (facial fracture) for the entire week, and potentially Chris Higgins who has been on the injured reserve for two games.

The last game against the Oilers showed how resilient Vancouver’s depth could be. With Ryan Miller (cramps?), Saint Chris Tanev (foot, after blocking a Steven Stamkos slapper), and Alex Burrows (upper body) all listed as “day-to-day”, the Canucks had to dress Ronalds Kenins, Linden Vey, and even Andrey Pedan on Saturday.

Who knows who might come back and when? The Canucks will just have to grind it out, keep the winning ways going with some kids in the lineup. Again, the perfect sequence of injuries, eh?

The schedule is finally easy on the Canucks, with just two games this week. Both of them, though, might be four-point affairs. Vancouver could seriously use some wins against this week’s opponents.

vs. Los Angeles Kings (21-11-2) Monday, December 28th

Leading Scorer: Jeff Carter (11 Goals, 28 Points)

Keys to the game:

  1. Stifle the Kings’ offence
  2. Control the traffic
  3. Settle down the defence

The last time these two Pacific Division rivals met, the Canucks dropped a 1-2 OT decision, unable to salvage the extra point for Jacob Markstrom, who stopped 38 of 40 shots and won the night’s second star.

But the Canucks will get a little break, as the Kings’ leading scorer Carter is out from their road trip. With Dwight King and Kyle Clifford also out, the Canucks will have less L.A. offence to deal with.

That being said, the Canucks have to control the net-front traffic. Vancouver cannot let Markstrom swim outside his crease like he did against the Oilers, where he was lucky not to be burned on a couple of occasions. The Kings will surely make him pay should he swim outside his crease and leave juicy rebounds in the blue paint. The Canucks have to clear the shooting lanes for Markstrom, and make Jonathan Quick‘s night miserable by throwing bodies at the attacking net.

vs. Anaheim Ducks (12-15-6) Friday, January 1st

Leading Scorer: Corey Perry (11 Goals, 21 Points)

Keys to the game

  1. Dominate emotionally
  2. Shut them down completely
  3. Rattle the Ducks netminder

The Anaheim Ducks will roll into town on Friday, giving the Canucks three full days to rest up. The Ducks were never the easiest opponents to play, but with the Ducks being the second-worst team in the league at this point, the Canucks might be able to continue a winning home stand. The Ducks are 4-10-2 on 16 road games this season. By the way, the Canucks have played 22 on the road.

The last time these clubs met, Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf had fun eating up the kids. Jared McCann was getting hung out to dry, and the Canucks simply lost their compete level. But after that disheartening game, the fourth line came to life. And this time, it is time for the Canucks to dictate the flow of emotion. If the Ducks want to run you over, make them pay on the scoreboard. If the Ducks are being “sitting ducks” and playing passively, run them through the glass.

Next: The Canucks are Cursed

The Ducks have the league’s worst offence, averaging just 1.85 goals per game. Help Jacob Markstrom (likely to be in net) out and shut them down. Going the other way, the Ducks have Frederick Andersen and John Gibson in net. Rattle them with all you’ve got, Vancouver, and you will score goals.

The Bottomline.

The Canucks are terrific against their division rivals. With the win against the Oilers this Saturday, Vancouver is 5-1-3 against Pacific division rivals — but that one regulation loss comes at the hands of the Anaheim Ducks. The Pacific is the weakest division in the NHL right now. If the Canucks can survive a Kings affair and keep things steady with the Ducks, they could be on a four-game winning streak at the end of this week.