California Here We Come! Canucks-Kings Preview

  Canucks (46-26-4)
Kings (43-27-6)

AT

Time 7:30 PM PST
TV Sportsnet Pacific / NHLN (US)
Season Series 3-0 Canucks
Last Meeting 3-1 Canucks  (12-14-09)
The Enemy Jewels From The Crown Scoring Leaders H. Sedin: 29-75-104 Kopitar: 33-43-76
Canucks
Category Kings
3rd Conference Position 7th
5-3-2
Last 10 4-5-1
3.22 (2)
Goals Per Game 2.78 (10)
2.54 (9)
Least Goals Against Per Game 2.59 (10)
1.31 (2)
5 On 5 GF/GA 1.03 (11)
21.3 (5)
Power Play %
20.6 (6)
81.7 (18) Penalty Kill %
80.5 (19)
30.7 (10)
Shots Per Game 28.7 (22)
29.3 (9)
Least Shots Against Per Game 27.6 (3)
78.5 (4)
Winning % When Scoring First 76.6 (6)
82.8 (4)
Winning % When Leading After 1 84.0 (3)
43.6 (5)
Winning % When Trailing After 1 30.3 (18)
96.8 (4)
Winning % When Leading After 2 100 (1)
32.3 (2)
Winning % When Trailing After2 19.5 (9)
51.4 (6)
Faceoffs % 50.1 (14)
15.2 (26)
Least PIM's Per Game 12.0 (14)
+41 (2)
+ / - GF/GA (see here)
+10 (9)

Update (5:49 PM): Despite Jonathan Bernier getting the shutout in the Kings' last game, and that he's starting against the Canucks, coach Terry Murray insists that there is no goalie controversy in LA, and that Jonny Quick will be the go-to guy.

Update (5:10 PM): Daniel Sedin will not play tonight, according to Dan Murphy on Uber Twitter (because just plain ol' Twitter isn't enough). Hat tip to WAACH'Cast for the find.

Update: Daniel Sedin is having some not-so serious back spasms lately, which is why he did not practice yesterday. He says that he gets the spasms on occasion. He'll do some exercises today and see how it feels. He may not play tonight. Pavol Demitra has been called in from Van just in case Dank can't score, as the only other player the Canucks have with them is Nolan Baumgartner.Ah hell, put Nolan on Line 1. He'll probably score a hatty.

***************************************

The Kings beat the Predators 2-0 on Tuesday to end a 4-game losing streak. Jonathan Bernier got the shutout, the youngest goaltender in Kings history to do so. Jonathan Quick, who has been great this year, was in net for all 4 losses on the streak, where they were outscored 14-7. In fact, Quick has lost 9 of his last 12 starts.

Bernier will start in goal against the Canucks.

Kings coach Terry Murray believes his team is on the right track. Why?

Well as LA Kings Insider Rich Hammond put it: In their last five games, the Kings have averaged 30.6 shots on goal. In their previous five games, the Kings had averaged 22.8 shots per game.

Who's rolling for the Kings?

-Scott Parse has 3 goals in his last 2 games.

That's about it. No other Kings have more than a point in their last 3-4 games that I'm aware of.

The Canucks are still 7 points ahead of the Avalanche, as Colorado lost to Anaheim Wednesday night. So it really isn't as much about the Canucks losing the Northwest Division title at this point. It's more about them catching the Blackhawks, who they now trail by 5 points as Chicago pummeled the Wild 4-0 Wednesday night. That's a bit of a stretch to accomplish, because I don't see the Hawks melting down in their final games. These things can change in a hurry though, as Flames fans are finding out. But it's looking more and more like the Canucks will finish 3rd, so now we also watch who ends up in the 6th seed and a dinner in hell.

We'll see how all this affects the Canucks' psyche. One thing for sure: benching Shane O'Brien didn't hurt the team at all. They came out a obliterated the Coyotes on Tuesday in one of the best games I've seen them play since I don't know when. Andrew Alberts finally looked comfortable in a Canucks jersey in OB's stead.

Henrik Sedin only needs 6 more points to catch Pavel Bure's single season points record, as Yankee pointed out here. Hank is showing no signs of letting up. I'm not sure which game Andrew Raycroft will start in, tonight against the Kings or tomorrow against the Ducks. My guess is the latter, but we'll keep you up to date. Vancouver plays 6 games in 10 nights to finish off their season from on high.

OK, video time!

1. Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack go ass over tea kettle with this Jan Bulis hit!

2. Highlights of the Canucks' win over the Kings, December 2009.

3. Ugh. Canucks have an awful way of being a part of history. Here, Gretzky scores goal 802:

4. Old school brawl between the Kings and Canucks.

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