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¯\_(ツ)_/¯ - Blues @ Canucks Gamethread

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Vancouver is 3-7-1 in their last ten. That's the worst in the league. Team Tank is alive and well.

Juggernaut Vrbata
Juggernaut Vrbata
Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

If you eye the Canucks seasons over time, you'll see - even with 12 games to go - they currently have a points percentage (points divided by maximum points possible) of .471 which puts them in roughly the same camp as the 1996-97 Canucks (.470, 77 points).

That 1996 Tom Renney-led team finished fourth in the Pacific and wasn't a horrific team (Mogilny and Gelinas both have 30+ goals, Bure had 55 points and even 23 year old Naslund topped 40 pts) but it was the organization's last gasp before they brought Messier (*spits*) in the following season in an attempt to redefine themselves on the fly.

You could arguably say some similar things about the team now - strong Sedin seasons, the emergence of Hansen, Baert and Hutton, decent netminding from the goalies - and at least dedicating to a true rebuild beats pulling an overrated blowhard out of New York in a blatant PR attempt. But since we're talking about a historically bad Vancouver team, you can't be surprised when two "bad" teams - Winnipeg and Edmonton - stomp them in the span of a week and, because it's March, they get no time to lick their wounds against those chasing spots (Colorado) and those chasing the highly competitive Central Division title (Blues).

So forget the scoreboard and focus on the players: Gaunce stepping up his play, Tryamkin flirting with 20 comfortable minutes per game and Pedan seems more at ease. And with Vrbata out, look who's coming back!

The Blues are in the middle of a small losing streak, but they get Brian Elliot back and a win combined with a Dallas loss to the Islanders will put them atop the Central. The Blues won the previous meeting 4-3 back on Oct. 16 with Kyle Brodziak playing hero with the GWG.

Fun fact: St. Louis hasn't allowed a PPG to Vancouver at Rogers since the last Matrix movie was released (2003).

In three weeks it'll all be over. As I said in the game preview: think happy thoughts.

Human Guinea Pig Formations (these are likely wrong for Vancouver, too many questions marks)

Daniel Sedin - Henrik Sedin - Jake Virtanen

Sven Baertschi - Bo Horvat - Chris Higgins

Brendan Gaunce - Linden Vey - Alexandre Grenier

Alexandre Burrows - Jared McCann - Emerson Etem

Ben Hutton - Alex Biega

Matt Bartkowski - Dan Hamhuis

Nikita Tryamkin - Andrey Pedan

Ryan Miller

Jaden Schwartz - Jori Lehtera - Vladimir Tarasenko

Robbi Fabbri - Paul Stastny - Troy Brouwer

Dmitrij Jaskin - Patrik Berglund - David Backes

Scottie Upshall - Kyle Brodziak - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Colton Parayko - Kevin Shattenkirk

Joel Edmundson - Carl Gunnarsson

Brian Elliott

One Question

The Blues are one of the best faceoff teams in the league (51.4%, fifth best) and, as you surely know by now, Vancouver is dead last (45.2%). In their only meeting this season seven of nine St. Louis players finished above 50% from the dot; only two (Hank and Sutter) did some for Vancouver. So, with Sutter gone, how will the Canucks fare tonight?

One Observation

Remember back in the enjoyable days of 2008 when the Canucks tried to steal David Backes from St. Louis? Imagine how different the 2011 run could have been with Kesler and Backes (their mutual dislike for each other aside) banging around in the top nine? Of course the fact St. Louis reacted to the offer sheet by trying to lift Steve Bernier off Vancouver's hands just completes the tragic comedy.

For reference, Backes is now tied with Pavol Demitra (RIP good sir) for Blues' goals with 204.

Fearless Prediction

Glass half full: Higgins helps provide a spark, the group is sick of getting stomped and surprise a struggling good team to complete their three game losing streak against Canadian teams.

Glass half empty: it's over five minutes into the first.

Glass smashed against the wall: Vancouver gets shutout for the second consecutive night.

Personally I don't much care. Keep the learning up kids and don't let those knee ligaments rip.