Vancouver Canucks preview: Open season in Anaheim

VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 28: Patrick Eaves
VANCOUVER, BC - MARCH 28: Patrick Eaves /

With the hopes of extending their win streak on the road, the Vancouver Canucks latest test are the Aneiheim Ducks. But are they really a challenge?

When healthy, the Anaheim Ducks, on paper, are the a better team than the Vancouver Canucks. But the key is word is “healthy,” as the Ducks have a handful of injuries to their main stars. So maybe the Canucks are the better team.

Can you can believe it?

Sidelined tonight for the Ducks are: Ondrej Kase, Jared Boll, John Gibson, Ryan Kesler, Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler, and Patrick Eaves.

Boll may not be a key contributor. But the point is, not only are the ducks missing some of their top players up front and on the blue-line, they are starting to lose depth players. The Canucks though, missing some crucial players themselves, don’t seem so bad in comparison.

Especially the Vancouver Canucks defence, who are managing to still help the team win without Alex Edler and Troy Stecher.

Final. 0. 105. 0. 104

Vancouver Canucks


2017-2018 Record: 8-5-1

2017-2018 Record Against the Ducks: 0-0-0

Goals For: 42

Goals Against: 37

Injuries: Troy Stecher (knee, 4-6 weeks), Markus Granlund (shoulder, day-to-day), Alex Edler (knee, game-time decision), and Loui Eriksson (knee), who should also be making a return soon.

Who’s on offence

For the first time in a decade, the the Vancouver Canucks first line does not include a Sedin. Brock Boeser, Sven Baertschi, and Bo Horvat are what the Sedins have been waiting for: a core to take over in the scoring department.

More from The Canuck Way

This B-53 line leads the team in scoring. Combined they have produced 38 points this season, and neither of the three leads the team in goals! That shows how much a little depth can take a team in the NHL…that or the possessed Derek Dorsett.

Even if the offence drops-off for Dorsett, he is excelling beyond expectations this year and will still contribute in different areas. Right now he leads the the Canucks in goals with seven.

Another player doing exactly what he was brought in to do is Thomas Vanek. He has five goals on and nine points on the season.

Sam Gagner is finally starting to find his offensive touch scoring his first two goals with the Canucks in November. Though Vanek is the better bet – his contract is easier to move than Gagner’s -, could both these players become trade chips at the NHL Trade Deadline?

Who’s on defence

When Jacob Markstrom was asked Monday how the soft goals ceased from trickling in the net, he replied, “Chris Tanev“. The Canucks’ savior – who’s photos on HockeyDB all resemble that of a Messiah – is just above 50% in CF%, always in the correct defensive areas, and is quietly providing offence in the absence of Stecher and Edler with two goals and five points.

Michael Del Zotto cannot be overlooked for his effots. Again, with the injuries on defence other players have to take over the minute. One being Del Zotto, who is doing more than serving as patchwork.

Yes, he likes to rush the play and gets caught on occasion. But that is the style the Canucks are playing under Travis Green. Some of the offence-first decisions can be blamed on the coach.

Truth is, Del Zotto is exceeding expectations. Being able to increase his ice time to 23-26 minutes a night is valuable. Also, he’s been providing offence from the back-end scoring seven points.

Who’s in Net

Like at the start of the week, Anders Nilsson is still awaiting the birth of his child, thus Markstrom will get the start again tonight.

Projected Lineup

Sven Baertschi—Bo Horvat—Brock Boeser

Daniel Sedin—Henrik Sedin—Jake Virtanen

Thomas Vanek—Alexander Burmistrov—Sam Gagner

Brendan Gaunce—Brandon Sutter—Derek Dorsett

Ben Hutton—Chris Tanev

Derrick Pouliot—Erik Gudbranson

Michael Del Zotto—Alex Biega

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff

Anaheim Ducks


Record: 6-6-3

Record vs the Canucks 0-0-0

Goals For: 43

Goals Against: 47

Injuries: Jared Boll (day-to-day), Patrick Eaves (Guillain-Barre syndrome, out indefinitley), Cam Fowler (knee, 4-8 weeks), Ryan Getzlaf (face, 2 months), John Gibson (concussion, day-to-day), Ondrej Kase (head, day-to-day), and Ryan Kesler (hip, 4-6 weeks).

Who’s on offence

Oh boy.

Good question! Ever heard of Derek Grant? Introducing the Ducks new top centre!

Week after week the Ducks lose more bodies to injury reserve. The question is: do they have enough organizational depth to keep up?

How have they kept up?

Posting a 6-6-3 record while shuffling line-ups early in the season provides little time for chemistry to develop. The fact they are managing to win games is impressive.  But it has not been pretty, and neither are the scoring statistics.

Rickard Rakell is perhaps the only source of optimism for the Ducks, leading the team in scoring with six goals and 11 points. Right under him lies the Iron Man himself, Andrew Cogliano with nine points.

Getzlaf (who’s out), and Corey Perry are not the threats they once were; yet ,they have been playing find this season. One concern is the the play of Jakob Silfverberg. The once highly touted prospect who is expected to step-up in light of the injuries has only scored 2 goals and is barely noticeable on the ice.

Who’s on defence

Out of the gates the Ducks defence faced adversity being without Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm. However, the defence core is the strongest part of this Ducks roster, not only because of the great players they managed to keep, but the depth.

Of course when the young guns get hurt and the likes of Francois Beauchemin and Kevin Bieksa have to log high minutes, it is frightening. Yet thus far, the lack of offensive production has been the main concern.

Who’s in Net

Randy Carlyle confirmed Ryan Miller as the starter in tonight’s contest with the Vancouver Canucks, something that does not often occur. 

“Ryan Miller has been absolutely spectacular in net thus far”, says SBNation. If the Ducks are to have any chance of winning tonight, the game will be in Miller’s gloves.

Projected Lineup

Rickard Rakell—Derek Grant—Corey Perry

Andrew Cogliano—Chris Wagner—Jakob Silverberg

Nick Ritchie—Antoine Vermette—Ondrej Kase

Logan Shaw—Dennis Rasmussen—Jared Boll

Hampus Lindholm—Josh Manson

Francois Beauchemin—Brandon Montour

Sami Vatenen—Kevin Bieksa

*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff

Keys to Victory

Vancouver Canucks: Keep the scoring coming from all lines, improve on the power-play, and refrain from turning over the puck when the defence joins the rush.

Anaheim Ducks: Contributions from depth players, sound defence, and Miller putting on an MVP performance like he did all last season with the Vancouver Canucks.


Andrew Nazareth

1. 105. 3. 104. Final

With the ducks facing injuries left and right, the Killer B’s will sting and put up multiple points. Also, Brendan Gaunce will get his first goal of the year. You heard it here first!

Scott Rosenhek

105. 2. 104. Final. 1

The Ducks are decimated with injuries, but I have a feeling Ryan Miller will be tough to beat. The Canucks have been sloppy in the past two games, so their must tighten up tonight. I think Hutton scores and Tommy Gun will have the winner in the shootout.

Alex Hoegler

Final. 2. 105. 3. 104

Anaheim is beaten up with injuries.  Their top two centres, best defenceman, and top goalie are out.  All adds up to another victory for the road warriors

Isha Jahromi

105. 4. 104. Final. 1

Next: Roundtable: Travis Green, Benning extension, more

Enough said.

Go Canucks!