Chances are you’re still reeling from the events south of the border that occurred Tuesday evening. No, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about five whole goals from the Vancouver Canucks!
Hopefully, the game against the Rangers is a sign of things to come as the Canucks play the Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena for the last time (other than when they meet in the Stanley Cup Final this year of course).
Vancouver Canucks (5-8-1, 11 points) vs Detroit Red Wings (7-6-1, 15 points)
Venue: Joe Louis Arena, Detroit
Time: 4:30 pm PT
TV: Sportsnet Vancouver
Radio: TSN 1040
By the numbers
|Goals for||1.86 (30th)||2.57 (19th)|
|Goals against||2.86 (21st)||2.64 (17th)|
|Power play %||9.3 (29th)||18 (17th)|
|Penalty kill %||85 (9th)||79.1 (22nd)|
|Shots for||27.4 (29th)||28.6 (23rd)|
|Shots against||28.6 (9th)||32.1 (25th)|
|Faceoff %||51 (6th)||50.6 (9th)|
The Canucks will roll with the same lineup that won on Tuesday, with the exception of in goal, where Michigan native Ryan Miller will get the start.
|D. Sedin||H. Sedin||Eriksson|
What you need to know
1. Who’s next?
After Loui Eriksson, Alex Burrows, and Sven Baertschi all scored their first goals of the season respectively, let’s take a look at who could be next to bump their slump.
The Canucks are the lowest scoring team in the league and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to receive some primary scoring, never mind secondary scoring.
Brendan Gaunce picked up an assist during Tuesday night’s victory on Alex Burrows’ empty-netter and hopefully, that is a decent first step for the young centre. Gaunce has played in all 14 games so far this season, spending most of his time on the fourth line. With one goal and three points in 34 career NHL games, Gaunce is due.
Brandon Sutter scored the overtime winner in the second game of the season against the Carolina Hurricanes, his former team, and hasn’t managed to find the back of the net since. He also added an assist in that game and it looked as if he was poised to put last year’s forgettable season behind him. As productive as Sutter is when he isn’t scoring, it would be nice to see him put one in soon.
2. Virtanen reassigned
It’s been an up and down year, literally, for Virtanen.
In 10 games, he has registered just one assist and hasn’t built on his strong end to last season. Virtanen simply wasn’t getting the playing time he needs to improve and grow.
The Canucks sent Virtanen down to the AHL on Wednesday, intending on giving the 20-year-old two games with the Comets before recalling him.
“He’s not consistent enough and until he gives you that, he can’t play,” said head coach Willie Desjardins. Harsh words from the head bench boss, but it’s difficult to argue with his statement.
Last year, Virtanen played 55 games and registered 13 points in the NHL. There were flashes of what made him attractive as a strong skating winger in the NHL Entry Draft. Even on a relatively weak Canucks team this year, Virtanen hasn’t managed to make his mark. Hopefully, some time in Utica will aid in his development. He’s certainly saying all the right things at this point.
3. Datsyukless Red Wings
These aren’t your father’s Detroit Red Wings. This is a team learning to live without Pavel Datsyuk, who went back to Russia this season.
Offseason acquisition Thomas Vanek has eight points in seven games and appears to have found a spot on the top line. Young speedsters Dylan Larkin and Andreas Athanasiou both have four goals to start the campaign.
What looked like a leaky blue line to begin the season is being led by a resurgent Mike Green. The former Norris Trophy candidate has 10 points in 14 games.
The Wings (7-6-1) are having a middling season thus far, and promise to be a middle-of-the-pack team this year. They had been struggling of late, snapping a five-game losing streak with a shootout victory in Philadelphia on Tuesday.
After this US election cycle, it’s difficult to place stock in any prediction whatsoever, but I won’t let that stop me. Take the Canucks to win again, by a score of 3-2. Gaunce, Sutter, and Troy Stecher will score the goals.