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Canucks vs Wild Game Day Report: Back on the road again

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DH Vancouver Staff Nov 25, 2015 8:53 am

After a quick two-game stint at home that saw a win against the Blackhawks and a loss against the Devils, the Canucks kick off yet another road trip. This tough trip sees the Canucks playing four games in seven days with stops in Dallas, Anaheim, and LA. But first up, they are in Minnesota to take on the Wild.

Game Time: 4:00 pm

TV: Sportsnet One, Sportsnet Pacific

The host Wild are coming off a 4-0 shutout win over the Nashville Predators on Saturday night. Thus, they will be both confident and rested. The Wild sit in third place in the competitive Central Division with 25 points (11-5-3) in 19 games. Their home record is an outstanding 8-1.

Leading scorers are defenceman Ryan Suter (19 points), and forwards Mikko Koivu (18) and Thomas Vanek (16). Goaltender Devan Dubnyk has been a workhorse, starting 17 of the Wild’s first 19 games.

 

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Storylines

1. Getting defensive

The last 10 games have not been kind to the Vancouver Canucks. They are 2-6-2 over that span, and more alarmingly have given up three or more goals in all 10 of those games. That simply isn’t good enough to win.

After a good start, goaltender Ryan Miller has seen his GAA rise to 2.54 and his save percentage drop to .911. Jacob Markstrom’s numbers aren’t great either (3.31 GAA, .903 SV%), albeit in only three games.

There are a number of factors contributing to the defensive struggles. Ben Hutton’s injury has made the team less mobile on the back-end. Chris Tanev (who is playing with a broken finger) and Alex Edler are struggling to find consistency. Ditto for Dan Hamhuis. And whether it’s about goalie equipment or goalie interference, Ryan Miller has been a little bit more irritable of late.

https://twitter.com/forevercanuck/status/667206358245052416

Bottom line is that the Canucks need to get back to playing confident, structured defence. And yes, I know it’s easier said than done.

 

2. Andrey the Giant

On Monday, the Canucks called up defenceman Andrey Pedan from the Utica Comets. As our sports editor Rob Williams highlighted in his piece from Monday, Pedan stands 6’4’ and weighs 211 pounds. In 15 games with the Comets, he has 28 penalty minutes and seven points.

Tuesday after practice, Pedan described himself as tough to play against, a good hitter and a guy who can move the puck.

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With Ben Hutton out for at least another week, look for Pedan to get into a game or two on this road trip, especially if one of the current d-men falter.

 

3. They are who we thought they were

Just over a quarter-way through the season, I don’t think anyone should be too surprised at where the Canucks stand. With 22 points in 22 games, they are an average team.

All of the people hoping for an injection of young blood into the lineup are getting their wish. Bo Horvat, Jared McCann, and Ben Hutton (before his injury) have been regulars. Ditto for Jake Virtanen and Sven Baertschi who will likely be swapped for each other on any given night given Vrbata’s return. It will get a tad murkier when Brandon Sutter returns sometime early next month.

As well, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Grenier, and Hunter Shinkaruk have all seen the ice this season.

Along with the freshness and hope that comes with new blood comes the mistakes and inexperience. I think most Canucks fans are mature and intelligent enough to realize that the next couple of seasons might be a tad messy.

It’s up to the veteran players to provide the consistency. The Sedins and Hansen have been doing their part recently. Now it’s up to guys like Vrbata, Burrows, Higgins, Edler, Tanev, and Hamhuis to do the same.

 

Lineup

The Canucks will make two lineup changes from the Devils game on Sunday night. Jake Virtanen replaces Sven Baertschi on the third line.

Ryan Miller will return to the crease.

 

D. Sedin H. Sedin Hansen
Higgins Horvat Burrows
Virtanen McCann Vrbata
Prust Cracknell Dorsett
Edler Tanev
Hamhuis Weber
Sbisa Bartkowski
Miller

 

Prediction

The players have been saying all of the right things. Now it’s time to have their actions speak louder than their words.

Canucks win 4-3.

Now excuse me as I go search for the Fanboni.

 


D8d194f40cb13417f79d4d8daee34fdb?s=96&d=mm&r=g
DH Vancouver Staff
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