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Hockey, Sports

Miller returns to the crease for Canucks vs Ducks

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Clay Imoo Oct 23, 2016 4:22 am 741

The Canucks suffered their first loss of the 2016-17 NHL season Saturday night, falling 4-3 to the Los Angeles Kings in a shootout. Still, the team is tied for first overall in the league and is one of only two teams that hasn’t lost in regulation time yet – the other being the Montreal Canadiens.

The Canucks play their sixth game in nine nights on Sunday as they take on the Ducks in Anaheim.

Matchup

Vancouver Canucks (4-0-1, 9 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (1-3-1, 3 points)

Venue: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA

Time: 5 pm PT

TV: Sportsnet

Radio: TSN 1040

By the numbers

  Canucks Ducks
Goals for 2.40 (26th) 2.00 (28th)
Goals against 1.80 (2nd) 2.80 (12th)
Power play % 14.3 (19th) 11.1 (24th)
Penalty kill % 86.7 (13th) 84.0 (16th)
Shots for 26.6 (28th) 29.4 (16th)
Shots against 25.8 (5th) 29.0 (14th)
Faceoff % 47.4 (23rd) 58.9 (1st)

Lineup

Ryan Miller will replace Jacob Markstrom in net. As well, Jack Skille will draw in for the injured Derek Dorsett.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Baertschi
Granlund Sutter Hansen
Eriksson Horvat Virtanen
Burrows Gaunce Skille
Edler Tanev
Hutton Gudbranson
Sbisa Larsen
Miller

What you need to know

1. This is the Ducks’ home opener

Opposite to the Canucks, the Ducks started their season with a five-game road trip that saw them amass a paltry three out of a possible 10 points. Anaheim opened the season with four straight losses before winning their last game 3-2 in Philadelphia on Thursday.

As you can see from the stats above, the Ducks have had little offence, scoring only 10 goals in their first five games. They will look to come out with a lot of energy in front of their home fans.

2. It’s Miller Time

Ryan Miller will make his second start of the season. You’ll recall that he was between the pipes in the Canucks’ season-opening win against the Calgary Flames back on October 15. In that game, he didn’t allow a goal but he was denied of a shutout (thanks to Loui Eriksson).

In fact, Miller hasn’t allowed a goal since October 2, a preseason game against the Sharks.

He was supposed to start against the St. Louis Blues on October 18 but he was “tight” when showed up for the game day skate. Also tight has been the Vancouver defence, as they have allowed the 5th-fewest shots per game in the league.

See also

3. Shuffling the deck

Head coach Willie Desjardins surprised just about everyone when he changed up his lines heading into yesterday’s game. The biggest move was swapping Sven Baertschi (to play with the twins) and Loui Eriksson (to play with Bo Horvat) in a move to get both of them going. Jake Virtanen also replaced Jack Skille on Horvat’s wing.

The net result wasn’t pretty as the team finished a minus-24 in even-strength Corsi in their loss against the Kings. Furthermore, the only even-strength goal came from the untouched second line of Granlund, Sutter, and Hansen.

It was a strange move given that the Canucks hadn’t lost a game heading into yesterday’s tilt. We’ll see what happens with the lines tonight.

Prediction

As much as I hate to admit it, I think the Canucks are due for their first regulation loss. The Ducks are playing in their home opener and the Canucks are playing back-to-back and for the sixth time in just nine days.

Look for a 3-2 Ducks win. But Kesler or Bieksa won’t be among the goal scorers.


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Clay Imoo
I'm a Canucks season ticket member and I'm a creator of Canucks parody songs and haiku. I've also played the organ at a Canucks game. My son has caddied for Bo Horvat. More importantly I'm a husband and a father.

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