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Hockey, Sports

Markstrom vs Luongo for Canucks and Panthers in Florida tonight

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Ian Lusher Dec 10, 2016 2:29 am 316

The Canucks roll into Sunrise trying to sweep the state of Florida as they take on a struggling Panthers team. Vancouver is riding huge momentum after a 5-1 win in Tampa Bay on Thursday night.

See also

There was some talk locally that the Canucks may make a waiver wire claim on Ryan Garbutt to bolster the fourth line, but that never came to fruition. In fact, that was just plain crazy talk!

Matchup

Vancouver Canucks (12-13-2, 26 points) vs Florida Panthers (12-12-4, 28 points)

Venue: BB&T Center, Sunrise, Florida

Time: 4 pm PT

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: TSN 1040

By the numbers

  Canucks Panthers
Goals for 2.30 (26th) 2.29 (27th)
Goals against 2.89 (24th) 2.61 (13th)
Power play % 14.1 (26th) 13.5 (29th)
Penalty kill % 84.9 (8th) 85.0 (7th)
Shots for 29.2 (21st) 30.8 (9th)
Shots against 30.0 (16th) 29.4 (21st)
Faceoff % 51.0 (10th) 48.5 (24th)

Lineup

The Canucks will ice the same lineup that we saw in Thursday’s win against the Lightning. Jannik Hansen is with the team and is close to returning, but will not play.

The Canucks have called up blue chip goaltending prospect, Thatcher Demko, with Ryan Miller experiencing some tightness late in the Lightning game. Jacob Markstrom gets the start in goal.

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

What you need to know

1. Blueline surviving despite the injuries

The Canucks top pairing of Chris Tanev and Alex Edler appear weeks away from returning to the lineup. Despite this, the Canucks D corps is actually holding up quite well. Troy Stecher is a revelation and Nikita Tryamkin looks better each game out.

This begs the question: Where does Erik Gudbranson fit in on this team going forward?

It appears that when Tanev is healthy, Gudbranson should slot in as the third best option on the right side. If a trade happens, look for Benning to trade one of these two.

For now, the injuries have provided Canucks fans a glimpse of the future on defence. Watch for Stecher to have a big game tonight.

2. Secondary Scoring

Every team needs scoring from unlikely sources. The Canucks rarely get it.

Jack Skille, Jayson Megna, and Erik Gudbranson were the goal scorers in Tampa Bay a few nights ago and this was a sight for the sore eyes of Willie Desjardins.

If the Canucks are to go on any roll of any sort, they need scoring from unexpected players and they need scoring support from their defence.

Let’s see if the Sedins and Bo Horvat can get some help in Florida.

3. The ties that bind

Like it or not, it seems like the Canucks and Panthers will forever be tied in some form or another.

There is that minor issue of the possible, some say pending, matter of the cap-recapture on Roberto Luongo’s contract. It looks really ugly for Vancouver if Lu retires in 2020 or 2021 by the way. So bad that it will make you want to cry.

The poster team for hockey analytics’ core revolves around players drafted by the “old school” regime. The Panthers are led by Alexander Barkov, Jonathan Huberdeau, Nick Bjugstad, and Aaron Ekblad.

Keep your eye out for diminutive forward Jonathan Marchessault. The bargain free agent signing leads the team scoring with 10 goals and 9 assists in 25 games (score one for the Army boys).

Since dumping their coach to the curb on November 27th, the Panthers have lost five of their last six games, including losing their last four in a row.

Prediction

The Canucks out-PDO’d (114 for those that count these things) themselves in Tampa Bay and can’t possibly expect the same type of luck in Sunrise. Expect a fairly loose game with the Panthers taking it 5-4.


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Ian Lusher
Lifelong Canucks fan, lover of all things Seinfeld, and avid Yankees fan.

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