vs. Ottawa Senators (28-26-6) Thursday, February 25th
Leading scorer: Erik Karlsson (11 goals, 65 points)
Keys to the game:
- Don’t give anything to the Sens’ defence
- Special team domination
- Statement game
If Dion Phaneuf and Erik Karlsson don’t intimidate you, I don’t know what else would. The Ottawa Senators are trying to make the push for the playoffs, but they find themselves the 21st team in the standings to start Week 21. Their defence, at least nominally, looks good to me.
After a shaky start in the Sens uniform, Phaneuf now has a goal to cheer for in Ottawa. The Canucks have to make sure that he and Karlsson do not run through some of the less speedy blueliners. Chris Tanev and Ben Hutton will be put to the test.
Secondly, the Sens have a surprisingly bad penalty kill record. If the Canucks wanted a chance to draw up a new powerplay squad, they have three full days from Sunday’s match against Colorado to think, and then Thursday to put their thoughts to test against the league’s second-worst penalty kill, which is only successful 74.3 percent of the time.
Lastly, this is the second last game before the trade deadline. The Canucks have moves to make. Will Radim Vrbata be able to recreate this gorgeous goal against Craig Anderson that he scored last year?
Also, make sure this does not turn into another Auston Matthews chant in Rogers Arena. That is just disheartening for everyone to hear.
For a Vancouver Win:
Sarah: Again, not an easy game. Will be a fun Canadian battle to watch in person, though!
Janik: The losing streak can’t go on forever. Here’s to hoping it ends against the Senators. Bold predictions: Bo scores twice, Virtanen gets the game winner.
Me: Game closer than the scoreboard may suggest. I never liked Erik Karlsson playing against my team. Uncertainties in the lineup will jar the Canucks apart. Might have some life, though!
Next: The Bottomline