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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks vs Anaheim- Dec 30/16

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The LA Kings spotted the Canucks a 2-0 lead and paid the price with a regulation loss on Wednesday. I would be shocked if the Anaheim Ducks were as gracious tonight in the last home game of 2016.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs. Anaheim Ducks

7:00 PM PT - Rogers Arena- Vancouver, BC

TV: SNP - Radio: TSN 1040

I'm sure that some of you had a chuckle about that last win, given my prediction. Who would have predicted the Kings would come out so flat? While it was nice to see the Canucks win, especially against LA, they were lucky that Ryan Miller was dialed in, because they certainly didn't turn in a 60 minute effort worthy of victory. But hey, like I always say, if you're looking for style points, watch figure skating.

And is the way of the Canucks, they lost ground last night despite not playing, thanks to a Dallas victory that vaulted them over the Kings and into that last Wild Card spot in the West, leaving the Canucks 6 points back. They'll face an Anaheim team that knocked off the Flames last night as every game becomes a must win for the Canucks.

Canucks
CATEGORY
Ducks
15-18-3 SEASON RECORD 18-12-7
33 Points 43
6th Division Position 3rd
Won 1
Streak Won 1
2.36 (24)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.70 (14)
3.03 (27)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.76 (17)
14.0 (27) Power Play % 24.6 (2)
80.2 (21) Penalty Kill % 81.4 (16)
51.8 (6) Faceoff Win % 56.1 (1)
8.4 (22)
Shooting % 9.3 (10)
49.3 (19)
Corsi For % 49.5 (17)
98.3 (28)
PDO 99.6 (13)

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

THE OPPOSITION

The Ducks have been stumbling a bit of late, winning just 5 of their last 10. They'll hope to get things back on track with back to back wins against their Pacific Division rivals in Calgary and Vancouver. One thing they need is more goaltending from John Gibson like they got last night, but they will likely turn to Jonathan Bernier, who hasn't been much better, because of the back to back.

It is also a return for former Canucks Ryan Kesler and Kevin Bieksa. Bieksa seems to be fading into the twilight of his career, but Kesler's been dominant this year, leading the Ducks in scoring and looking very much like the player they thought they were getting when Kesler and his agent screwed the Canucks over so mightily a few years back.

One big possible loss is Sami Vatanen possibly being out, listed as day to day with an illness. Vatanen always plays the Canucks hard.

THE CANUCKS

Tonight is game 800 for Mr. Everything: Alexandre Burrows. According to Elias Sports he is the 3rd currently active player that was not drafted to hit that mark. Another potential milestone looming for the Canucks is Captain Henrik Sedin just 7 back of the 1000 point mark. With Kesler set to continue his dominance over the Twins since being traded, don't expect him to get too much closer tonight.

The big question is who starts in goal tonight for the Canucks. Ryan Miller was lights out for them on Wednesday, but do they want to go to him on one day's rest, and start Jacob Markstrom? Or do they see if Miller's got another one in the tank, leaving Markstrom to Connor McDavid and the Oilers on New Years' Eve? I would rather see Markstrom get tonight's effort, but we know how Willie rolls, so we can pretty much expect Millsy in the crease tonight.

In the comments of last game's preview, I noticed this:

While we can all have a chuckle over his prediction (hey, a lot of you were wrong too!) I wanted to make sure he felt shame over the comment about Edler. While the Canucks coasted the last 40 minutes, Edler was solid in his return, definitely the best D on the ice Wednesday night. Yes, he makes mistakes at times, and his shattering sticks are the stuff of legend, but this team is going nowhere without him and Chris Tanev in the lineup, and while you can make cases for trading both of these guys to help kickstart a legitimate rebuild, if you want to fight for that last Wild Card spot, you need Alex Edler in your lineup.

Today is a solemn one in the hockey world, as we mark the 30th anniversary of the bus crash that claimed the lives of 4 members of the WHL's Swift Current Broncos. There's a great writeup on the WHL's site about the tragedy, and how, led by rookie Joe Sakic, the team rebounded from this horrible moment.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

As part of this feature, I strive to not just give you names you recognize if you're a metalhead, but dig up some underground acts worthy of your attention. I stumbled  across a band called Gotsu Totsu Kotsu from Japan, and they kick a whole lotta ass! The band's name translates to 'Collision Bones' according to Google, and this track Into The Jaws Of Death is from their album Retributive Justice on Bang The Head Records.