The Vancouver Canucks find themselves in relatively unknown territory as they take on the New York Islanders at Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum. The Canucks have not played in Long Island since early 2011 and will face a team that features one of the brightest young stars in the NHL, John Tavares.
The Canucks suffered their first regulation loss of their long Eastern road trip dropping a 3-1 decision to the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Canucks controlled the bulk of the play, but spent very little time in scoring areas. It was not an issue of effort, but, more so, an issue of inefficient effort.
The New York Islanders are a team that seems to make more headlines from management and ownership than it does on the ice. That being said, the Islanders feature some intriguing young players, led by John Tavares (who is tougher than you think…see video) and ex-Canuck Michael Grabner. Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it), Grabner will not be in the lineup due to suspension. The Islanders currently sit 3rd in a surprisingly weak Metropolitan Division and are coming off of a 3-2 loss vs the Nashville Predators.
Based on practice the lines are likely to look like this:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Kesler
Higgins – Santorelli – Hansen
Kassian – Richardson – Booth
Sestito – Welsh – Weise
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
The pretend Larscheid report…
1. Put the Puck in the Net!
The Canucks need to start burying their grade A scoring chances. The Canucks are going to get some excellent offensive chances against a young and defensively loose Islanders team and they need to cash in early on their chances.
2. Be Aggressive and Stay Aggressive
The Canucks need to play John Tortorella’s attacking, aggressive style for the full 60 minutes. The Canucks played too much on the perimeter vs Columbus and it cost them the game. This is no longer Alain Vigneault’s team and there is no room for complacency.
The Canucks need Roberto Luongo to go on a roll. Historically Luongo picks up his game in late October and carries it through November. We saw signs of improved play from Luongo vs the Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins. The bottom-line is that we need Lu at the top of his game to be successful.
I suspect this will be a wide open game with lots of scoring chances and more goals than the last few games. Canucks take this game 5-2.
Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher