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.
Vancouver Canucks (4-0-1, 9 points) vs. Anaheim Ducks (1-3-1, 3 points)
Venue: Honda Center, Anaheim, CA
Time: 5 pm PT
Radio: TSN 1040
By the numbers
|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)|
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|
What you need to know
1. This is the Ducks’ home opener
“We need the fans behind us the whole way. To walk down the carpet and see everyone early, hopefully we build off that energy.”
— Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) October 22, 2016
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
New Puck Daddy: Ryan Miller slams goaltending equipment criticism: 'I’m inside the rules' https://t.co/885t3q5N8t
— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) October 23, 2016
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.
- SixPack: Another 3-goal comeback for Canucks earns a point in LA
- Father-son goaltending duo from Surrey suit-up for LA Kings affiliate tonight
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.
Coach Desjardins said he’s changing some lines to “get a few guys going.” He said Virtanen practiced hard and deserves to be back in.
— Vancouver Canucks (@Canucks) October 22, 2016
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.
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.