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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Anaheim- Oct 23/16

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Last night we saw a Canucks team that was some kind of weird hybrid of last year’s model and this year, kind of like the robots retaining previous experiences in ‘West World’. So from the glitzy fakeness of Hollywood, they move on to Orange County: Home of Disneyland, Trump supporters and the Ducks.

Harry How/Getty Images

Vancouver Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks

5:00 PM PT - Honda Center, Anaheim, CA

TV: SN - Radio: TSN 1040

From a stats-based perspective, the Canucks had no business getting a point in that game last night, so it’s a pretty positive thing that they were able to walk out of LA with a Bettman point. From the PP still looking utterly discombobulated and yet managing to score twice to withstanding a 4 on 3 in OT, it speaks volumes about the differences between last year’s team and this year’s. There is no quit in these guys, and let’s face it, there’s a lot of teams that, even with Peter Budaj between the pipes, would look at a 3 goal deficit to the Kings and go "well, it’s not our night"...

Sure, there are concerns. We’re still not getting what we thought we would out of Loui Ericsson. The Sedins looked tired last night, though the scheduling is as much to blame as their age, the whole team looked that way near the end. Luca Sbisa and Philip Larsen were bloody awful last night. So for them to have gone 5 games without a regulation loss is even more impressive. And likely why they won’t continue that streak against the Ducks tonight.

At some point, you won’t get the bounces. The toll of 6 games in 9 nights catches up with you, and a team walks all over you. That is your preview tonight, folks. It’s gonna be tough for the Canucks to replicate what we’ve seen the first 5 games in tonight’s contest.

Now, it’s not that there’s zero chance here. Ryan Miller makes his 2nd start of the season, and he was pretty damn good in his first. They managed to score twice on the PP last night, with both goals being set up by Philip Larsen, who atoned for an otherwise crappy performance alongside Luca Sbisa, so bad it saw them split up, and thank gawd for that.

Canucks
CATEGORY
Ducks
4-0-1 SEASON RECORD 1-3-1
9 Points 3
1st Division Position 5th
Lost 1 (SO)
Streak Won 1
2.40 (26)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.00 (28)
1.80 (2)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.80 (12)
14.3 (19) Power Play % 11.1 (24)
86.7 (13) Penalty Kill % 84.0 (16)
47.4 (23) Faceoff Win % 58.9 (1)
9.0 (24)
Shooting % 6.8 (28)
51.0 (10)
Corsi For % 50.8 (11)
102.2 (6)
PDO 97.1 (25)

Stats from NHL.com and www.hockey-reference.com

THE OPPOSITION

With the Ducks cutting Bruce Boudreau loose last year and bringing back Randy Carlyle, some wondered if this wasn't going to have much of an impact on the Ducks, and so far that seems a pretty fair assessment. You will recall though the Ducks were almost historically awful out of the gate last year, and somehow managed to turn it around, when many thought that Boudreau should have been fired before that point.

So far, they seem to have some of the same problems they did last year: they're not getting a lot of scoring. They're not a ton worse than the Canucks in a lot of these categories, and better in some, yet they have just 1 win to show for their efforts. Like the Canucks, they've been in a lot of close games. Unlike the Canucks, they haven't been able to get games tied in the 3rd and push things to OT. With their next 4 against the Canucks, Sharks, Predators and Blue Jackets, they'd do well to get something resembling a winning streak going to avoid finding themselves in a slapfight with the Coyotes and Flames for a lottery pick early on.

If there's a good thing in their favour, it's that despite all this, it doesn't appear as though they're missing RFA Hampus Lindholm, given the results, and it's likely that they'll have to move out someone like Cam Fowler to create the room to get him in with less than 700k in current cap space, which is at best a lateral move for the Ducks. What's not helping, is having a guy like Ryan Kesler making just south of $7 million a year with just 2 assists so far, but hey, he wins faceoffs, right? Ryan Getzlaf is putting up a point a game, and Corey Perry's got 2 goals so far, but they're going to need contributions from others if they hope to right this ship.

THE CANUCKS

One thing Canucks fans have been dreading is injuries on the scale of last season making this seemingly precarious house of cards tumble to the floor. They got their first last night when Brayden McNabb hit Derek Dorsett.

One thing that was plainly evident last night, was that the structure we saw in previous games was not there, and the Canucks would do well to get back to playing the way they did in their previous contests, and the Captain agrees...

Orange County's given the metal world a lot of trash, when you look at it. Metalcore posers like Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through and Avenged Sevenfold, not to mention the hilariously awful Stryper. But like every trash pile, you can sometimes find a gem inside and this one is Hirax. They've been around since the dawn of thrash, right there with Exodus, Metallica and Slayer back in the day, led by the one of a kind vocalist Katon W. DePena. Here's Deceased doing a cover of Bombs of War (with the intro of Demons Evil Forces mixed in)...