The Vancouver Canucks desperately need a win.
After two consecutive losses in which Vancouver conceded seven goals apiece, the team will be looking to salvage their dismal road trip with a win against Anaheim on Sunday night.
This is the second time that the Pacific Division combatants are meeting, with the Ducks squeaking away with the win in overtime last week. Unfortunately for the Canucks, they’re likely headed for a similar outcome as before if they don’t change.
The Ducks, who are riding a six-game win streak, are currently second in the Pacific Division, just one point behind the Edmonton Oilers. They should also be fairly well-rested heading into Sunday night, having last played on Thursday against Seattle. Anaheim put up seven goals of their own night.
Meanwhile, Vancouver has gone 0-2-0 since their home match-up against Anaheim, being outscored 14-5 in the process, and currently sit seventh in the Pacific Division.
Like we said, the odds aren’t in their favour.
The team departed for California shortly after their 7-4 loss at T-Mobile Arena, but not before head coach Travis Green voiced his concerns to the media.
The last quote was in reference to Thatcher Demko‘s delay-of-game infraction, which was handed to the netminder for “pushing” the net off of its moorings. Vegas would eventually capitalize on their man advantage opportunity as a result, thanks to Jonathan Marchessault’s second tally of the game, which ultimately stood as the game-winner.
Forward Brock Boeser also took to the stand, voicing his displeasure and exhaustion towards his team’s current performances.
And there’s no doubt that Boeser isn’t the only person, either fan or player, that is feeling this way right now.
It’s been a disheartening 48 hours for the entire organization since kicking off this three-game road trip. The team looked emotionless and disinterested against Colorado on Thursday, and didn’t even try to bounce back in the final 40 minutes after surrendering the first three goals of the game. Saturday’s effort in Vegas was a bit better, with the team finally able to put up a strong first period performance, but their special teams demons and untimely mistakes once again came back to haunt them.
As expected, Green put his lines into a blender prior to Saturday night, and we’ll have to wait and see if he goes with the same combinations on Sunday.
Fortunately, Green doesn’t have to worry about J.T. Miller, who appeared banged up towards the end of Saturday’s contest. Miller logged only 1:48 of even strength ice time in the third period, and would’ve been a significant blow to this already-depleted roster. Miller currently leads the team in points with 17, and has also proved to be one of their more successful faceoff takers.
He went 10-for-10 in the dot on Saturday night, and played alongside Conor Garland and Vasily Podkolzin.
The Canucks will also have Tyler Motte back in the line-up. Motte has been sidelined all year after undergoing neck surgery in the offseason, and will be a much-needed boost in the bottom-six and on the penalty kill.
On the backend, Green will once again be without the services of Travis Hamonic and Tucker Poolman. Hamonic was unable to travel with the team due to his current vaccination status, while Poolman will be serving the final game of his suspension.
As a result, Kyle Burroughs and Madison Bowey will slot on the bottom-two pairings for the second straight game. Green also opted for Brad Hunt on Saturday night, but could shake things up with Jack Rathbone instead. The 22-year-old has been skating as an extra since being called up from Abbotsford last week.
Jaroslav Halak is expected to be between the pipes.
The 36-year-old suited up in relief for Demko on Thursday night, allowing one goal in the final frame, and will be looking to secure his first victory of the season. Halak was close to this accomplishment last Tuesday against Anaheim, but wasn’t eventually beat by Troy Terry, who will enter Sunday’s contest on a 13-game point streak. He has amassed 11 goals and eight assists during that span.
In addition to slowing down Terry, the Canucks will also need to find a way to stop Anaheim’s current special teams production. The Ducks’ powerplay is currently clicking at a success rate of 26.5%, good for fifth in the league, while their penalty kill ranks eighth at 86.1%.
Vancouver sits 23rd in the league on the man advantage at 15.5%. Their penalty kill is dead last at 63.3%, highlighted by eight straight contests where they’ve allowed at least one powerplay tally.
Puck drop is set for 5:00pm PST.
What are your thoughts heading into the final game of this road trip? Make sure to drop a comment below!