After succumbing to the inevitable letdown game against the Detroit Red Wings, the Canucks are back at it against the Toronto Maple Leafs in what promises to be a special night for Canucks fans. Can the Leafs snap their losing streak against the Canucks that dates back to around 1965 ? Read on to find out.
Despite some wizardous Sedinary, the Canucks were unable to match the effort level of the Detroit Red Wings, falling 2-1 and snapping their 4 game win streak. The Canucks actually jumped out to the lead after a beautiful goal courtesy of newly signed twin brothers Daniel and Henrik Sedin (Silly Jimmy Howard. You never play the shot when Henrik has the puck). However, Detroit responded with two goals from Daniel Alfredsson and Thomas Tatar and never looked back. In a strange turn of events, John Tortorella’s line scramble couldn’t overcome the 1 goal deficit, and the Canucks fell to their former Western Conference rivals.
It’s always fun when the Leafs come to town isn’t it? We get to watch games three hours earlier than we should just to accommodate a team the Canucks play twice a year! But I digress…
The Canucks and Leafs don’t hook up often, but when they do, it usually ends well for the Canucks. The Canucks haven’t lost to the Leafs since 2003 when only one jersey was in the rafters at Rogers Arena. However, as much as their advanced statistics might suggest otherwise, the Leafs continue to win games which at the end of the day, is all that matters. With a talented forward group led by Phil Kessel, Nazem Kadri, James Van Riemsdyk, and sometimes Joffrey Lupul, the Leafs don’t need many opportunities to score a lot of goals. On defence, Dion Phaneuf, Cody Franson, Jake Gardiner, and rookie Morgan Rielly provide some solid support.
No major changes other than Archibald moving up to the third line. Luongo gets the call.
D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Kesler
Higgins – Santorelli – Burrows
Archibald – Richardson – Kassian
Sestito – Welsh – Weber
Garrison – Edler
Hamhuis – Tanev
Stanton – Bieksa
1. Pavel Bure Night
It’s the night that’s been years in the making. Pavel Bure will finally take his rightful place alongside Stan Smyl, Trevor Linden, and Markus Naslund in the rafters of Rogers Arena. It appears like a lot of the old gang will be there including Stan Smyl, Markus Naslund, Igor Larionov and Gino Odjick. I’m not sure how the long ceremony will affect the game, as these events have a tendency to create a bit of a slow start. I also don’t care. Just enjoy the jersey retirement and Pavel’s welcome home to the Vancouver. Let’s hope the Canucks can channel their inner Bure against the Leafs. Except you, Zack Kassian. Never try that again.
For an excellent reminder of how awesome Pavel Bure was, check out Rob’s Top 10 Pavel Bure Moments. Moment 2 is particularly fun to watch.
2. Can the Canucks continue to dominate the Leafs?
I wish. The days of assured wins are unfortunately a thing of the past. Not that the Canucks can’t win. It’s just that it won’t be as easy anymore. The Leafs have been building a solid lineup and are getting contributions from home grown talent like Nazem Kadri and Morgan Rielly. The Canucks defence will have to be very aware of who is on the ice. Especially an old friend who seems to have made quite the impression in Toronto. Which brings me to the final storyline of the night.
3. How will the Canucks contain Mason Raymond?
An even bigger story than Pavel Bure’s jersey retirement and the Leafs in Vancouver is, of course, the return of Mason Raymond to his old stomping grounds. Raymond had an excellent first month of the season providing consistent offence and never (ever) disappearing for a stretch of games, only to re-emerge again on a timely goal to remind everyone that he is, in fact, still there. Mike Gillis clearly made a huge mistake in not re-signing Raymond who has turned into the steal of the summer which is completely stupid fair to judge fourteen games into the season. How else do you explain the Leafs abysmal advanced stats, yet solid start to the year? I say it’s because of Mason “Steal of the Summer” Raymond…
But seriously, I want to clarify that I do sincerely wish Mason Raymond all the best. It’s just getting really annoying hearing from the eastern media that the Canucks made a huge mistake not resigning him. Then again, everything the Canucks do is wrong from the eastern media’s perspective. And apparently he is now friends with Dave Bolland. I take it back. I wish you nothing but the worst.
The biggest challenge I had with this prediction was figuring out whether the Canucks’ effort on Wednesday was just a bad night against a solid team, or the start of a lethargic stretch of hockey while enjoying home ice advantage. I can’t see John Tortorella letting them get away with two awful efforts in a row, especially against an eastern based team you have to cater to every time they come to town. I also can’t bet on the Canucks losing to the Leafs. The streak continues with a 5-3 win. Raymond falls down.