With the short Christmas break over, the Canucks jump right back into the hornet’s nest with a Sunday night tilt against the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks are coming off of a 2-1 shootout loss to the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday night. Losses have been rare for the Pacific Division leading Ducks and the Canucks will be more than happy to hand another one to them in Anaheim.
Game Time: 5:00 pm
The Canucks find themselves once again playing in the unfriendly state of California. The game against the Ducks is the first of a two game road trip in California that also sees the Canucks facing the San Jose Sharks before returning back to Rogers Arena. The Canucks get a slight break from the schedule makers with the Ducks playing their second game in consecutive nights. Then again, both teams should be reasonably well rested coming off of the Christmas break. The games between both these teams have been extremely entertaining in recent memory and look for Sunday night’s game to be no exception.
Derek Dorsett practiced on the 2nd line on Saturday along with Chris Higgins and Nick Bonino. Dorsett has been a player that head coach Willie Desjardins has had a lot of confidence in seemingly from the first game season and this trust in Dorsett has continued to grow. Dorsett has been an effective penalty killer all season and now finds hiimself likely playing some 2nd unit power play minutes as well. Jim Benning has clearly made some very good trades early in his tenure as the Canucks GM. Landing Dorsett from the New York Rangers has to rank up their as one of Benning’s most impactful transactions.
@VanCanucks play 12 gms from tomorrow to All-Star break(Jan.21),w/4 of next 7vsPAC division.Pretty important stretch.Time to get on a roll!
— Dave Tomlinson (@DTSN1040) December 27, 2014
Dave Tomlinson is absolutely correct that the Canucks are hitting a very important part of their schedule. The odd part is that the Canucks have played considerably less games than most teams in the league and have played the least games in the Pacific Division. Only the Florida Panthers (32 games) have played less than the 33 games the Canucks have played so far this season. The Canucks are in a good spot in the Pacific Division standings, but they have to make good use of their games in hand.
Do Canucks fans miss Ryan Kesler? I don’t.
Kesler is a classic example of how very few NHL hockey players are indispensable. A couple of years ago it would have seemed unthinkable to see Kesler in another team’s NHL uniform, but today it seems like it was nothing more than an inevitability. Kesler’s 12 goals and 15 assists have been replaced to an extent by Nick Bonino’s 8 goals and 13 assists. Bonino has been a pleasant surprise at both ends of the rink and has made the post-Kesler era a relative non-event.
Zack Kassian and Dan Hamhuis remain injured. Tom Sesitito will watch the game from the press box and the Canucks have brought up another defenseman from the AHL Utica Comets for insurance in case of an injury.
— Jon Abbott (@HockeyAbbs) December 27, 2014
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Vrbata|
The Canucks have won 2 straight games and would love nothing more than to have an extended winning streak heading into the New Year. The Canucks look to be catching a huge break with Corey Perry still out of the lineup and Ilya Bryzgalov likely getting the start in net. Vancouver takes this one 4-2, Nick Bonino pots 2 goals, and no one notices Ryan Kesler.