The Vancouver Canucks are on a roll and looking to push their win streak up to 5 straight with a 7:30 pm Wednesday night game vs the Detroit Red Wings at Rogers Arena. The Canucks sport a sweet 9-4-1 record and are looking to cap off an extremely successful October with one more win.
The Canucks busted the dreaded “first game back from a long road trip let down” and beat the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Monday night. The score flattered the Capitals, who received stellar goaltending from Michal Neuvirth. The Canucks outshot the Capitals 41-19 and supposed superstar Alexander Ovechkin was literally invisible after the first 2 minutes of the game. Ovechkin was awarded a penalty shot 79 seconds into the game, but was unable to beat Roberto Luongo and then spent the rest of the game relatively uninvolved in the play. The game also featured a classic Sedin line shift in which the Sedins and Kesler controlled the puck on a string for over a minute before Daniel Sedin sniped the game winner on a wicked slapshot from the slot.
The Detroit Red Wings
The Detroit Red Wings are coming off a 3-2 OT loss to the New York Rangers Saturday night. The Red Wings currently sit 5th in a rather tough Atlantic Division. The Canucks will have their work cut out for them given that the Red Wings are well rested having had 3 full days without a game. Keep an eye on Pavel Datsyuk. He is a magician with the puck and will surely be more noticeable for the full 60 minutes than his countyman, Alexander Ovechkin, was on Monday night.
The Canucks are battling all sorts of injuries to their depth forwards. Jeremy Welsh has been noticeable and it appears that John Tortorella is going to promote him to the third line. Here’s how the Canucks’ lines looked at practice today:
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Kesler
Higgins – Santorelli – Burrows
Welsh – Richardson - Kassian
Sestito – Archibald – Weber
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
The pretend Larscheid report…
1. Avoid the Letdown after the Letdown Game
This seems somewhat ridiculous, but the Canucks need to ensure they do not make this the “let down” game that the game against the Washington Capitals was shaping up to be. The Canucks were on a long eastern swing and, somewhat miraculously, played with a lot of energy in their first game back home Monday night vs the Capitals. The Red Wings are well rested and will provide much more of a test for the Canucks. Keep up the energy!
2. Seal the Deal!
The Canucks power play reminds me a little bit of Steve Carell’s character, Andy, in The 40 Year Old Virgin. They get lots of chances, but just can’t score. At some point the futility on the power play is going to bite the Canucks. If they can start scoring on the power play, they can make life a lot easier for themselves going forward.
3. Kassian Needs to be a Force
The Canucks need Zack Kassian to continue to progress. Kassian has shown flashes that his game is evolving and scored a nice goal on Monday night vs the Capitals. The Canucks need Kassian to be a difference maker with an injury depleted lineup.
I am extremely conflicted on my prediction for this game. The Canucks are really on a roll, but they are undermanned and the Red Wings have given the Canucks fits for years. The Red Wings are well rested and coming off of a loss. I hate to say it, but I feel like this will be the “letdown” game that was somewhat expected vs the Capitals: 4-1 Red Wings.
Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher