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Hockey, Sports

Canucks return home to take on Schneider and Devils

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Lachlan Macintosh Jan 15, 2017 2:29 am 286

Just outside of a wild card spot after picking up points in Nashville and Philadelphia, the Canucks return home to face a somewhat familiar foe. We all know and probably miss Cory Schneider. However, Vancouver will look to put a few pucks past their former teammate this afternoon.

A win helps keep the unlikeliest of dreams (a playoff spot) alive too.

Matchup

New Jersey Devils (17-18-9, 43 points) vs Vancouver Canucks (20-19-5, 45 points)

Venue: Rogers Arena, Vancouver

Time: 4 pm PT

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: TSN 1040

By the numbers

  Canucks Devils
Goals for 2.41 (25th) 2.18 (28th)
Goals against 2.86 (T-19th) 2.86 (T-19th)
Power play % 13.7 (27th) 13.3 (28th)
Penalty kill % 79.7 (22nd) 83 (10th)
Shots for 27.7 (29th) 27.4 (30th)
Shots against 30.8 (21st) 31.4 (24th)
Faceoff % 52.3 (5th) 50.4 (11th)

Lineup

Facing his former team, could this be the game Reid Boucher finally gets in the lineup? Judging by the team skate yesterday, it seems unlikely.

Also, it doesn’t appear Anton Rodin will see any playing time, though the coaching staff is clearly trying to get him more accustomed to team systems.

Additionally, Jacob Markstrom will get his 19th start of the season this afternoon.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Eriksson
Baertschi Horvat Burrows
Granlund Sutter Megna
Gaunce Chaput Skille
Edler Stecher
Sbisa Tanev
Biega Tryamkin
Markstrom

What you need to know

1. State of Affairs

Partially due to the ineptitude of the Western Conference, the race for a wild card spot has become fairly interesting. Six teams are within five points of each other. The Canucks, while currently out of the playoff picture, are still very much in the mix.

2. Shots at a premium

Don’t expect too much excitement from the two teams on the ice tonight. Noted for their defensive (some might say boring) style, the Devils are the only team with a lower shots per game rate than the Canucks. Additionally, as you can see below, both teams are not exactly “high pace” clubs.

While it may not have been the most technically sound game they’ve played this season, the Canucks and Flyers tilt on Thursday evening was a lot of fun to watch. Hopefully, that’s a sign of things to come.

3. Lackluster Lucifers

Though just two points behind the Canucks in the league standings, the Devils are seven points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. It’s yet another glaring example of the difference between the East and West this season.

In their first meeting this season, the Devils held on for a 3-2 win in New Jersey. With goals from Kyle Palmieri and offseason acquisitions Taylor Hall and Ben Lovejoy, New Jersey would be able to sweep the season series with a win this afternoon.

This was also the game Taylor Hall absolutely levelled Philip Larsen (who has yet to play since). Both Hall and Palmieri scored on Friday night to get a 2-1 win in Calgary.

While Keith Kinkaid started against the Flames, Cory Schneider has started thirty-three of the forty-four games so far this season. He’ll do so against his old club today. Schneider holds a .909 save percentage and a pedestrian 2.73 goals against average. Much of that is due to the team in front of him though, as is his 12-14-7 record. Only Frederik Andersen and Cam Talbot face more shots per game among those goalies with at least 30 starts.

Prediction

For all of the hand-wringing and head-scratching before the season, the Canucks have managed to stay somewhat relevant in the Western Conference playoff picture. Much of that is due to the improved goaltending of late and the pleasant, if unexpected, emergence of Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.

A win this afternoon would keep Vancouver in the hunt and go towards shaking the reputation of “playing down” to the level of some of the league’s lesser teams. Canucks make a statement with a 6-2 win and chase Schneider.


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Lachlan Macintosh
Above average cook, below average fantasy football player, Harvard graduate, and eternal lover of the Peyote Coyote.

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