Vancouver Canucks Preview: Killer B’s look to swarm Red Wings

DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 22: Derek Dorsett
DETROIT, MI - OCTOBER 22: Derek Dorsett /
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The surging Vancouver Canucks take on a tired Detroit Red Wings team that played last night against the Edmonton Oilers. 

Life is pretty good for the Vancouver Canucks as they continue to play an up-tempo, aggressive brand of hockey that has led them to a 7-4-2 record. In fact this record could have been even better if the Canucks were able to convert on their many opportunities in the games against the Dallas Stars and New Jersey Devils.

The part that makes this great start even sweeter is that they have been lead by young guns Brock Boeser, Bo Horvat, and Sven Baertschi. They combined for eleven points in the game against the Pittsburgh Penguins, all the while playing against the Sidney Crosby line for most of the night. If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will!

The Red Wings come into this match as your typical run of the mill average team. They own a 7-7-1 record on the season, and have gone 3-3-0 since getting walloped by the Canucks in the last game they played against each other.

Similar to the Canucks, the Red Wings are on a high after aptly beating the 30th placed Oilers. The rub is that they played this match last night, meaning that the Red Wings might be plagued by fatigue.

Can the baby Canucks continue to lead the team? Will the Red Wings have enough gas in the tank to muster out a win? Will Brock Boeser share the secret to maintaining his luscious hair? The Canuck Way team takes a look at this and more in our Canucks game day preview!

0. 72. 0. 104. Final

Vancouver Canucks

Overview

2017-18 Record: 7-4-2

2017-18 Record vs. Red Wings: 1-0-0

Goals For: 35

Goals Against: 31

Injuries: Troy Stecher (knee, 4-6 weeks), Brendan Gaunce (shoulder, out indefinitely), Alexander Edler (knee, 3-4 weeks), Loui Eriksson (knee, 4-6 weeks)

Who’s on Offence

More from The Canuck Way

Brock Boeser. The Canucks have not had such a pure sniper since Markus Naslund played for the team. The resemblance in both their positioning, shot, and demeanor is uncanny, and if he turns out to be anything similar to Naslund, Canucks twitter will go cuckoo.

He is currently in a tie for second in NHL rookie scoring, but if he keeps this pace up he has a good chance of passing The Hockey News’ favored rookie Clayton Keller.

Jake Virtanen was very noticeable last game using his speed to cause all sorts of headaches for the Penguins defence. With the Red Wings defence having to contain Connor McDavid all of last night, look for Virtanen to use his speed to try and skate around the defence.

Who’s on Defence

The pairing of Derrick Pouliot – Alex Biega has been quietly effective for the Canucks, and as fellow Canuck guru Ben Kuzma points out, both have to prove that they deserve to stay in the lineup when Alexander Edler returns.

Analytics pariah and traditionalists favourite son Erik Gudbranson has been playing more physical of late, throwing out eight hits in the game against Penguins. Regardless of which side of the spectrum you stand on in this war of nerds vs. old-schoolers, Gudbranson sheer size and strength alone will scare the Movember of the opposition’s face. He adds a toughness quotient that this team desperately needs (with all due respect to noted Canucks sniper Derek Dorsett).

Who’s in Net

At this point, it is anyone’s guess. As noted goalie whisperer Kevin Woodley explains, the Canucks have adopted a strategy of starting a goalie who is better suited to an opposing team’s style of play. The Canucks started Jacob Markstrom the last time they faced the Red Wings (and with the impending birth of Anders Nilsson‘s child), look for Jacob Markstrom to make his fourth consecutive start.

Projected lineup:

Sven Baertschi—Bo Horvat—Brock Boeser

Markus Granlund—Brandon Sutter—Derek Dorsett

Thomas Vanek—Alexander Burmistrov—Sam Gagner

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Jake Virtanen

Ben Hutton—Chris Tanev

Michael Del Zotto—Erik Gudbranson

Benoit Pouliot—Alex Biega

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff

Detroit Red Wings

Overview

2017-18 Record: 7-7-1

2017-18 Record vs. Canucks: 0-1-0

Goals For: 42

Goals Against: 41

Injuries: Johan Franzen (concussion, out indefinitely), Tyler Bertuzzi (wrist, 3-4 weeks), Danny Dekeyser (ankle, 2-3 weeks)

Who’s on Offence

Anthony Mantha leads the team in goals with seven, and is in a three way tie for first in points with thirteen. He had a very strong performance against the Edmonton Oilers last night, putting up a goal and an assist as well as three shots on goal. He is the top threat on a well balanced Detroit team.

Henrik Zetterberg looks rejuvenated, having produced eleven points in fifteen games to start the year. He is always dangerous whenever he is on the ice. Noted speed demon Dylan Larkin has put up four points in his last five games and leads the team in assists with eleven.

Who’s on Defence

Mike Green is tied with Mantha and Larkin for the team lead with thirteen points in what is a contract year for him (coincidence?). The Wings will use him in a lot of situations to not only help the team win, but to showcase him to potential trade deadline suitors who will line up around the block to get him like people did to buy the new iPhone ten.

Who’s in Net

With Petr Mrazek getting the start last night in Edmonton, look for Jimmy Howard to get the start tonight in Vancouver. He is 5-5-0 with a goals-against-average of 2.53, and a save percentage of .927.

Projected lineup:

Gustav Nyquist – Henrik Zetterberg – Tomas Tatar

Andreas Athanasiou – Dylan Larkin – Anthony Mantha

Darren Helm – Frans Nielsen – Justin Abdelkader

Scott Wilson – Luke Glendening – Martin Frk

Jonathan Ericsson – Trevor Daley

Niklas Kronwall – Mike Green

Xavier Oullet – Nick Jensen

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff

Keys to Victory:

Vancouver Canucks:

  1. The killer B line. The Canucks need this line to keep scoring, otherwise the Canucks will be in deep trouble.
  2. Continue up tempo play. With the Red Wings playing their second game in two nights, the Canucks need to come out guns-a-blazing to make the Red Wings use up what little energy they have left.

Detroit Red Wings:

  1. Play tight defensively. They were able to contain the mighty Connor McDavid, and with the Canucks containing no such star player (well, at least until Elias Pettersson joins the team), the Detroit Red Wings could stifle the Canucks in a similar fashion.
  2. Take the crowd out of the game. With Canucks fan still wearing the after glow of Boeser’s hat trick, the Red Wings should look to silence the crowd by scoring early. If they can do this, the chances of them winning the game increase ten fold.

Predictions:

Alex Hoegler

72. 4. 104. Final. 2

4-2 Canucks. Detroit will be tired out from a hard effort in Edmonton. Vancouver is surging after a big win over the Pens. Boeser nets two goals.

Andrew Nazareth

Final. 1. 72. 2. 104

2-1 Canucks. The Canucks will dominate the game in terms of possession and scoring chances, but stellar goaltending at both ends keeps this a very close match. Look for the Sedin line to score after playing the least amount of minutes last game of any line.

Tyler Shipley

Final. 1. 72. 4. 104

4-1 Canucks. Sedins on the board, Henrik gets his first goal and Boeser gets another.

Next: Canucks top prospects: Gaudette, DiPietro, Elias

Scott Rosenhek

Final. 2. 72. 5. 104

5-2 Canucks. Boeser will continue his hot streak with a goal. Horvat should pot in a couple and the Sedins will make their mark on the power play. Burmistrov should be the odd man out for Brendan Gaunce.