The visiting Vancouver Canucks will try to turn things around in California against the Los Angeles Kings after being outscored 9-1 on the road trip thus far.
The Vancouver Canucks are starting to slip down the standings after losing the first two of their three games in California. After the ugly ending in San Jose, the Canucks will look to get back to winning ways against the division-leading Los Angeles Kings.
Don’t look now, but the Canucks are two points away from a bottom-five finish in the league. They have earned just five points of the potential 14 points available in the past seven games.
On the other hand, the Canucks are tied for the second wild card position in the West and just two points away from locking up a divisional playoff spot. The playoffs are months away, yes, but the club’s goal of making the playoffs is still very possible.
As possible as picking fifth overall at this year’s draft, I might add.
Here is our complete preview for the Canucks first game against the Kings this season.
2017-2018 Record: 8-7-2
2016-2017 Record against Kings: 2-1-1
Goals For: 43
Goals Against: 46
Who’s on offence
After scoring just one goal as a team in the past two games with the help of Kevin Bieksa, the Canucks find themselves with just one line looking to score.
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Loui Eriksson would be a guy I would look to this game. He was decent with the Sedins on his return game from injury and would be eager to prove that he is worthy of ice time over the young Jake Virtanen.
Who’s on defence
Ben Hutton did not have a good game against San Jose (not many did), and hopefully rebounds for a good performance from the back end against these quick Kings forecheckers.
Derrick Pouliot has been a bright spot for the Canucks blueline lately. With the Canucks looking to score after two quiet nights, it would be a good night for Pouliot to take advantage of Troy Stecher‘s absence and contribute offensively while keeping his defensive work clean.
Who’s in net
Los Angeles Kings
2017-2018 Record: 11-4-2
2016-2017 Record against Canucks: 2-2-0
Goals For: 55
Goals Against: 41
Who’s on offence
Anze Kopitar is on an eight-game point streak during which he has ten points. He leads the Kings in points and in assists. Expect his with Alex Iafallo and Dustin Brown to be a handful for the Sutter-Dorsett line, the expected matchup.
Who’s on defence
Jake Muzzin has been stellar this season for the Kings, leading their blueline with twelve points in 17 games. Though Drew Doughty is always one of the most dangerous players on the ice, Muzzin has been able to match Doughty’s performance in the early goings. Expect the pairing to contribute tonight.
Who’s in net
Jonathan Quick has been one of the league’s top netminders this season with a .933 save percentage. The Kings could elect to use back-up Darcy Keumper in net, but that is unlikely considering Keumper is 2-4-0 in his career against the Canucks.
*lineups courtesy of the Daily Faceoff
Keys to victory
- Get traffic in front of Quick: Watching the OHL-Russia match and seeing Canucks prospect Jonah Gadjovich lead in shots and contribute on multiple goals made me realize how the Canucks have not had that kind of a net-front presence for many years. Quick is not going to get beat unless the Canucks screen, tip and agitate him.
- And for that, I think it is time for Thomas Vanek to have a highlight performance.
- The defencemen on the PP: After giving up so many chances on the powerplay, the Canucks are electing to go with a two-defencemen powerplay. This means that they will have to be sound defensively but also contribute more offensively.
Los Angeles Kings
- Exploit the injured Vancouver blueline: Tanev and Stecher, two of their top three defencemen, are out with injuries. Erik Gudbranson is not a puck mover. With that in mind, the Kings need to attack Edler, Del Zotto and Pouliot. Take advantage of Hutton in his own zone, in front of the net.
- Be aggressive, take chances: Attacking the blueline means hitting and finishing along the boards. Don’t be afraid of taking penalties, because this Vancouver powerplay is one of the worst in the league at this moment. The Kings are first in the league on the PK, successful 91.9 percent of the time. Trust in Quick and just give the Canucks a real hard time.
The Canucks may manage one goal against the mighty Jonathan Quick. Anders Nilsson will let just two goals in despite the Canucks’ inept defence. Unless someone comes up with a heroic performance, there is no way to beat these Kings.
The Canucks have been sloppy on defence without Tanev. L.A has a thing for beating and battering down the Canucks, and their superior speed and hard forechecking will make this an easy win.
Both goalies put on a show. The Kings struggle without top sniper Jeff Carter, while the Canucks finally get a power play goal.
The notoriously stingy Kings’ defence will continue to stifle a failing Vancouver offence. The Horvat line struggles to generate scoring chances as LA sends out the Kopitar and Dougty units against them.
The Canucks are a single line team that can produce plenty of shots without much finish. Bo Horvat will be matched up against the Kings’ shutdown units. The power play will stay impotent, but we shouldn’t see a shorthanded goal against (at least I hope so). Jonathan Quick is a much better goaltender than Aaron Dell, so this one won’t be pretty.
The Vancouver Canucks need to capitalize on their chances in this game. The la kings however are hot! If Quick has an off night, and the kings take a few bad penalties, as long as the boys capitalize on the power play, they have a chance to win. Ultimately though, the Kings are the safe bet tonight, and take the game in overtime.
Hey we scored a goal, that’s something right. This is the road trip that reminded us where we are at. Kings will dominate from start to finish. Anybody else miss the Tanman?