Canucks vs. Kings Game Day Report: New Year, Old Nemesis

Dec 19 2017, 1:23 pm

With a short and successful 2 game California road trip completed, the Canucks start a 5-game home stand on New Year’s Day against the Los Angeles Kings.

The Kings are coming off of a 3-2 shootout loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Wait! What? Meanwhile, the Canucks are looking to build on an impressive 3-1 road win against the San Jose Sharks.

Matchup

Game Time: 7:00 pm

TV: Sportsnet Pacific

The Canucks continue to hold their own in the very tough Pacific Division while the Los Angeles Kings come into town with an extremely mediocre 4-8-6 road record. Regardless, the Kings seem to always play extremely well against the Canucks. One thing is for certain, these two teams do not like each other. Expect a battle!

Storylines

1. Jannik Hansen

Hansen escaped suspension from a check on Sharks forward Tommy Wingels that looked similar to the check that landed Alex Burrows a 3 game suspension earlier in the season. The NHL Department of Player Safety continues it’s run of being consistently inconsistent. The Canucks dodged a bit of a bullet there given Hansen’s play has been stellar of late. Hansen was the best forward on the ice in the Canucks game against the Sharks. Hansen leads the list of Canucks players enjoying a bounce back season from a dismal one last year.

2. Canucks Improved?

Nothing gets by Rob the Hockey Guy. Are the Canucks really improved this season? Rob’s tweet clearly shows the Canucks are no better or worse than they were last year at this time. That being said, Canucks fans can feel confident that this year’s team is more than capable of securing a playoff spot. You can boil the optimism down to one person: Willie Desjardins. You won’t see Desjardins storming opposing team’s dressing rooms, playing his Top 6 into exhaustion, or creating goalie controversies for absolutely no reason whatsoever. All of the major issues that led to the Canucks demise last season simply do not exist this year. Increased depth and the high likelihood that “Trader Jim” Benning has a few more tricks up his sleeve add to the belief the Canucks can continue their run of success.

3. Penalty Kill

2014-2015 – Regular Season – Total Penalty Kill %

  Team Home: GP TS PPGA H PK% Road: GP R TS PPGA PK% Total: GP TS PPGA PK% SHG
1 CHI 18 49 5 89.8 19 56 5 91.1 37 105 10 90.5 2
2 DET 22 76 7 90.8 15 54 9 83.3 37 130 16 87.7 0
3 VAN 15 41 6 85.4 20 77 9 88.3 35 118 15 87.3 4
4 PIT 19 73 10 86.3 17 64 8 87.5 36 137 18 86.9 3
5 MTL 18 54 6 88.9 19 75 12 84.0 37 129 18 86.0 2
6 MIN 17 53 4 92.4 17 50 11 78.0 34 103 15 85.4 3
7 WPG 18 71 13 81.7 19 72 8 88.9 37 143 21 85.3 6
8 COL 18 66 10 84.8 18 62 9 85.5 36 128 19 85.2 3
9 CAR 16 36 6 83.3 20 63 9 85.7 36 99 15 84.8 2
10 TOR 22 72 12 83.3 15 53 9 83.0 37 125 21 83.2 6

The Canucks penalty kill has been very good this season and has moved into the ranks of the elite. Vancouver currently sits 3rd overall in penalty kill % with an 87.3% kill rate. If the Canucks could improve their power play % into the Top 10 (the Canucks currently rank 12th in the NHL), they could surprise in the last 47 games of the season. NHL teams that win the special teams battle generally win a lot. It is as simple as that.

Lineup

Dan Hamhuis is the lone injured Canuck. Tom Sesitito most certainly will be watching from the press box along with Bobby Sanguinetti. Zack Kassian is ready to return to the lineup, but we don’t know if he will play. Willie Desjardins has a decision to make with Linden Vey as a healthy scratch candidate. Stay tuned for updates.

D. Sedin H. Sedin Vrbata
Higgins Bonino Vey
Matthias Richardson Hansen
Burrows Horvat Dorsett
Edler Tanev
Stanton Bieksa
Weber Sbisa
Miller

Prediction

The Canucks are coming off of an impressive win against the San Jose Sharks and the Kings are enjoying New Years Eve in Vancouver. The Canucks take this one 4-2. Happy New Year!

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