Canucks vs Senators Game Day Report: Storming the Nation's Capital

Dec 19 2017, 6:27 pm

After breaking their three-game losing streak on Tuesday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Canucks look to earn another win in the nation’s capital against the Ottawa Senators. Before practice yesterday, the Canucks were able to attend the National Remembrance Day Ceremony at the National War Memorial – the last time they had done so was back in 2010.


Game Time: 4:30 pm

TV: Sportsnet Vancouver

The host Senators are coming off a wild 7-5 loss to the Nashville Predators; it’s the highest-scoring game in the NHL this season. The Sens sit third in the Atlantic Division with 17 points (7-5-3) in 15 games. Ottawa is among the top teams in the league when it comes to scoring goals and among the bottom teams in the league when it comes to goals against. Leading scorers are Mark Stone (15 points), Erik Karlsson (14), Bobby Ryan (13), and Kyle Turris (13).



1. Not-So-Special Teams

The Canucks sit atop the Pacific Division in spite of their special teams play, not because of it. Their power play is misfiring at 13.7% (26th in the NHL) and their penalty kill fares a bit better at 82.2% (11th in the NHL). You’d still like to see the combined percentages be over 100% – in the Canucks’ case it’s 95.9%. It’s not an official fancy stat, but I’ve always used it as a preliminary indicator.

Bottom line: the power play isn’t good enough. Especially it’s giving up shorthanded goals like it did on Tuesday night. The coaching staff seems to agree, as the team spent time working on the power play in practice and seem open to trying new alignments.

*Note: Brandon Sutter will be evaluated sometime today.


2. Making his Mark

Canucks fans should be happy with Jacob Markstrom’s performance on Tuesday night. In his first appearance of the season, he turned away 42 Blue Jackets shots and looked relatively calm in the crease.

He also has a flair for the dramatic as you can see from his brutal giveaway and remarkable recovery from Tuesday night.

I know it’s only one game, but Markstrom’s showing should serve as a confidence booster to him, his teammates, the coaches, and the fans. Coach Willie Desjardins needs to be feel comfortable putting Markstrom in as a viable option. It will help preserve Ryan Miller and avoid playing him in 10 consecutive games (as he did to start the season).

It will also give Miller more time to argue with broadcasters about the size of his goaltending equipment.


3. Handing it to Hansen

With his four-point outburst on Tuesday night, Jannik Hansen finds himself in third-place in team scoring behind the twins. Hansen has had a steady start to the season and is in the top 10 in the entire NHL in plus-minus.

There are many things to like about Hansen’s play: he’s aggressive, he’s a good skater, he wins his fair share of puck battles, and he has decent hands (despite his seeming inability to score on breakaways). He’s also very versatile and his skill set allows him to play on any of the four lines.

How long will Hansen stick with the twins? It’s very hard to predict as we’ve already seen Brandon Sutter and Radim Vrbata skate on the top line. In fact, Vrbata played the last nine games with the Sedins and wasn’t that effective.



It appears that rookie forward Jake Virtanen will return to the lineup while fellow rookie Jared McCann will sit. Adam Cracknell will centre the fourth line. Ryan Miller will start in goal.

*UPDATE: Sutter is out with an injury, McCann will draw in.


D. Sedin H. Sedin Hansen
Baertschi Horvat Vrbata
Burrows McCann Dorsett
Higgins Cracknell Virtanen
Edler Tanev
Hamhuis Weber
Hutton Bartkowski



My first thought was that it would a relatively high scoring game given that both teams scored five goals in their respective last outings. Then I thought that Ryan Miller – fueled by his anger towards Ray Ferraro – will have a monster game.

Thus, I’m going with the latter: a 3-0 Canucks win.

My predictions have been pretty good recently. You can thank me later.

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

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