Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Manny Malhotra WILL play in game 2… Probably

Manny Malhotra was back on the ice practicing with the Canucks on Friday, doing line rushes with Victor Oreskovich and Jeff Tambellini. He has been cleared to play, so presumably he will play in game 2. We have seen this movie before of course, when Malhotra was cleared to play, but didn’t in game 1. But assuming that Malhotra doesn’t experience a setback between now and the pre-game skate, we will see him in the lineup for game 2.

The other lineup change for the Canucks will be the insertion of Andrew Alberts (not Keith Ballard) for the injured Dan Hamhuis. I can’t say that I’m shocked by this decision, but I completely disagree with it. I’m sure that Alain Vigneault wants to go with a more conservative defenceman, that can deal with the big Bruins forwards in front of the net. I think that’s the wrong approach, as Keith Ballard can move the puck out of the zone with more ease. In any case, Andrew Alberts isn’t a bad player, and they should be ok either way.

5 Questions before game 2:

Will Zdeno Chara be in front of the net on the Bruins power play?

I sure hope so. It appears that Bruins head coach Claude Julien is the only one that thinks this is a good idea right now. Chara has one of the hardest shots in the league, yet they have him parked in front of Roberto Luongo. I’m confused as to why they don’t put big Milan Lucic in front of the net and have Chara pound shots from the point.

Will game 2 be another goaltending duel?

It will be interesting to see if Roberto Luongo and Tim Thomas will both be able to keep up their stellar play. Lost in the euphoria of the Canucks win in game 1 was the fact that Tim Thomas made a number of amazing saves to keep the Bruins in it. If he plays like that again, he is bound to steal games for Boston.

How will the Bruins deal with the team speed of the Canucks?

I think the most telling part of game 1 was how much faster the Canucks were than the Bruins. And the Canucks know it. It’s likely the reason that Jeff Tambellini has drawn into the lineup ahead of Tanner Glass.

How much will the Canucks fourth line play?

Speaking of Tambellini, he lead all Canucks fourth liners in ice time with 2:30. The Bruins, on the other hand, played their fourth line a lot more. Campbell, Seguin and Paille each played between 5 and 8 minutes each. That will likely change if Manny Malhotra plays. That will be a huge benefit to the Canucks, especially if the game goes into overtime.

Will the Sedins break out?

There seemed to be some suggestion by the media that the Sedins had a sub par game in game 1. While they didn’t score, and didn’t look lethal with the man advantage, I thought they were very strong at 5-on-5. Daniel Sedin had 8 shots on goal. My question is if they can solve Tim Thomas. His unorthodox style seems to match up well with their Sedin trickery. If the Sedins break out, this could be a very short series.

…I can’t get enough of that guy.

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