Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Canucks vs Wild Game Preview – December 17, 2013

Image courtesy of the National Post

Image courtesy of the National Post

The Canucks are back and on the road after a stellar home stand where they went 5-0 and gained some traction in the Western Conference standings. How will the Canucks respond to playing in Minnesota after an epic battle with the much beloved Boston Bruins? Read on to find out:

Last Game:

Wow. That’s all I can really say. Rarely does a game actually live up to the hype, but Saturday’s game against the Bruins truly did (provided you cheer for Vancouver). The game had a little bit of everything. Lots of Canuck goals, mutilated Iginla finger, Roberto Luongo was solid and of course, Brad Marchand was a piece of garbage. The Canucks would open the scoring on a fluke goal by Jannik Hansen but after Reilly Smith tied it at 1-1, John Tortorella called a timeout and absolutely lost it on the team (I was a little scared myself…). Although terrifying to watch, it worked wonders as celebrated Bruin hunter David Booth used his speed and snapped one past Tuuka Rask to regain the lead. The Canucks never looked back and padded their lead with goals from Chris Higgins, Yannick Weber, Henrik Sedin, and even Chris Tanev. Boston got one more late in the game but by then the outcome had already been determined as Vancouver cruised to a 6-2 victory.

The Opponent:

Here we go again. The Minnesota Wild have long been a thorn in the side of Canuck fans but not because they are a tough opponent for Vancouver. It’s because they are so damn boring to watch. While things have improved with the signings of Zack Parise and Ryan Suter, watching the Wild play is still a mind numbing experience. Even though the competition is much stronger in the new Pacific Division, most Canuck fans applauded the change so at least we wouldn’t be stuck watching Wild-Canuck games more than three times a year. The Wild actually have a decent amount of skilled forwards that includes Parise, Mikko Koivu, Jason Pominville, and the most expensive fourth liner in history, Dany Heatley. The Wild are currently a part of the dog fight that is the Western Conference standings, although they are beginning to slide down as teams, like Vancouver, start to gain some traction.

Canucks Lines:

Tom Sestito is healthy again and will draw into the lineup. Roberto Luongo will get the start.

D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Hansen

Higgins – Kesler – Santorelli

Booth – Richardson – Kassian

Sestito – Dalpe – Weise

Hamhuis – Tanev

Stanton – Bieksa

Weber – Garrison

Luongo

Storylines:

1.The Let Down Game

Maybe this is more of a Canuck fan problem. Usually games against rivals will result in a poor effort the next game, especially against the Minnesota Wild. Fortunately, it didn’t seem like the Canucks were heavily involved in the emotional side of this against the Bruins. They were more interested in running up the score. Even when Brad Marchand decided to be an idiot, the Canucks didn’t seem to care at all and let the little rat continue with his antics. In conclusion, we probably won’t have to worry about another 2012 type slide after beating Boston especially when they know that Torts will yell at them. Speaking of which, if you are ever feeling unmotivated a work or school, just picture John Tortorella screaming at you. I guarantee your productivity will triple.

2. Higgins-Kesler-Santorelli

Do the Canucks finally have a second line? I would say that chemistry is playing a big part in their success as a unit, but I would probably give more credit to the resurgence of Ryan Kesler. It’s no secret that when Kesler is going, the Canucks are going. That’s not to diminish Santorelli and Higgins because their work along the boards is a thing of beauty. I just think they are more powerful because Kesler is playing like an animal right now.

3. Bobby Lu in Minnesota

If you can believe it, Roberto Luongo hasn’t started a game in Minnesota since 2010. Well, that’s all about to change as John Tortorella apparently doesn’t give a crap about Lu’s past history in Minnesota. I really don’t blame him either. You can’t shelter Luongo from a game like this if he is your number one goaltender. I’m sure he’ll be fine, especially with the Canucks playing so well defensively.

Prediction:

The Canucks are a roll. I’m saying the keep on going and defeat Minnesota 2-1. Bonus prediction: I fall asleep before it’s over. It’s been a long day and I’m tired okay?

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