Rob The Hockey Guy

// A Vancouver Canucks Hockey Blog

Canucks vs Penguins Game Preview – January 7, 2014

Image Courtesy:  o.canada.com

Image Courtesy: o.canada.com

The Vancouver Canucks play the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Tuesday night 7:00pm PST game at Rogers Arena. The game will mark the first time Sidney Crosby has played on Vancouver ice since the 2010 Olympics. The Canucks will be looking to avenge an October 19, 2013 4-3 shootout loss vs the Penguins and, more importantly, will be trying to get their game back after 3 complete stinkers.

Last Game

The Canucks completely disintegrated in the final 40 minutes of the game vs the Anaheim Ducks after a very strong 1st period en route to a 4-3 OT loss. The score flattered the Canucks who had no business being in the game were it not for an unbelievable goaltending performance by Eddie Lack. You have to feel sorry for Lack, it’s not often that you have a 45 save performance and lose? John Tortorella looked completely exacerbated at times during the game and you have to think he is scratching his head over the Canucks recent play.

Image Courtesy:  blogs.province.com

Image Courtesy: blogs.province.com

The Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins currently sit 1st overall in the Eastern Conference and lead the Metropolitan Division (aka-The Uber-Northwest Division) by a ridiculous 17 points over the 2nd place Philadelphia Flyers. Tuesday night’s game marks the first game of a 3 game Western road swing. The Penguins are coming off of a wild 6-5 win over the Winnipeg Jets and will be a tough test for the struggling Canucks.

Canucks Lines

The Canucks lineup is in flux with the call-up of Darren Archibald (I like this move!!!) from the Utica Comets. The word is David Booth and Dale Weise will be healthy scratches vs the Penguins. The lines shape up like this:

D. Sedin – H. Sedin – Santorelli

Kassian – Kesler – Sestito

Hansen – Richardson - Higgins

Ferriero – Dalpe – Archibald

Hamhuis – Tanev

Corrado – Bieksa

Garrison – Weber

Lack

The pretend Larscheid report…

1. No More Injuries

The Canucks’ injuries are starting to pile up with Zack Kassian and Roberto Luongo looking to be the newest Canucks out more than day-to-day. The Canucks have good depth at defence and in goal, but the forward depth is not great. A win with no injuries would be nice. 

2. Clean-Up the Team Defence

The Canucks December run was fuelled by excellent team defence. As good as the Canucks were defensively in December, they have somehow turned into a disaster in January. It is hard to pinpoint exactly what the issue is, but from a semi-informed perspective it looks like the Canucks have really been caught in panic-mode the last few games. Anyone who has played sports knows that generally panic-mode is a function of inexperience, lack of confidence, or a combination of the two. I would suggest it is the latter with some key players out of the lineup.

3. Bieksa – Garrison

Kevin Bieksa and Jason Garrison have been a bit of a disaster lately. More so Garrison than Bieksa, but clearly this D-pairing is not working. When the Canucks picked up Ryan Stanton on waivers I thought it was nothing more than a move for defensive depth, however, there is no question that Stanton is very important to this team given how well he plays with Bieksa. If I were Tortorella, I would not have Bieksa and Garrison playing together. While we wait for the return of Stanton, let’s hope Bieksa and Garrison can get their shit together.

Prediction

The Canucks looked completely rattled in successive games versus the Los Angeles Kings and the Ducks after a complete dud vs the Tampa Bay Lightning. Injuries are starting to take their toll and the timing of playing the Penguins isn’t great. I’d like to say the Canucks are going to turn it around in a hurry, but the Penguins are too good of a team to find your way against. The Penguins take this one 4-2.

The www.robthehockeyguy.com predictions season record is currently at 25-19. 

Follow Ian Lusher on Twitter at @IanLusher

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