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GAME DAY PREVIEW: Canucks @ Buffalo- Feb 12/17

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A late goal gave the Bruins the lead as the defence lets the Canucks down once again. And what is with Bo Horvat not seeing the ice in the dying moments of the game?

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Vancouver Canucks vs. Buffalo Sabres

4:30 AM PT - KeyBank Center- Buffalo, NY

TV: SNP - Radio: TSN 1040

It's one thing to be frustrated when the Canucks don't play well and lose a game. It's an entirely different thing when they play well enough to win and get nothing to show for it. They hung in against the Bruins yesterday, coming back to tie the game twice only to see the Bruins get a late one, taking the lead with just a couple minutes left. So you'd think with the Canucks desperate to tie it up, Willie Desjardins is going to have his best scorers out there to give them that chance, right?


Nah. Not even close. Bo Horvat sat, while Henrik Sedin lost a crucial faceoff in the dying seconds. It's maddening, and a trait that I will not miss when Willie D is sent packing...

Canucks
CATEGORY
Sabres
24-25-6 SEASON RECORD 23-22-10
54 Points 56
6th Division Position 7th
Lost 1 Streak Won 1
2.31 (27)
Goals For Per 60 (GF60)
2.45 (24)
2.84 (20)
Goals Against Per 60 (GA60)
2.73 (14)
15.5 (27) Power Play % 23.8 (1)
78.6 (25) Penalty Kill % 73.6 (29)
52.1 (5) Faceoff Win % 50.4 (10)
8.1 (26)
Shooting % 8.3 (23)
48.7 (22)
Corsi For % 46.7 (28)
99.0 (21)
PDO 100.0 (11)

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

THE OPPOSITION

If you're the type that doesn't pay a ton of attention to the Eastern Conference, it may have come as a surprise to see just how close the Buffalo Sabres are to the last Wild Card spot. Sure, their chances of making it aren't that much better than the Canucks, but it certainly gives you a clear example of the way Gary Bettman's manipulated parity is working this season. Even the Detroit Red Wings could have hope with a winning streak!

While the Canucks are playing a back to back, and their 3rd game in 4 nights, the Sabres aren't exactly rested either, as this will be their 5th game in 7. And with Robin Lehner starting after seeing 44 shots in a 3-1 win over the Leafs last night, you wonder if they shouldn't have also started the backup goaltender as the Canucks are doing with Jacob Markstrom (more on that below).

via our pals at Die By The Blade, here's the Buffalo projected lineup:

Projected Buffalo Lines

56 Justin Bailey - 90 Ryan O’Reilly - 21 Kyle Okposo
Evander Kane - 15 Jack Eichel - 23 Sam Reinhart
82 Marcus Foligno - 71 Evan Rodrigues - 12 Brian Gionta
26 Matt Moulson - 27 Derek Grant - 63 Tyler Ennis

77 Dmitry Kulikov - 55 Rasmus Ristolainen
29 Jake McCabe - 6 Cody Franson
Josh Gorges - 41 Justin Falk

Goal: 40 Robin Lehner

THE CANUCKS

So, hindsight being all that it is, you have to really wonder if the Canucks would have been better off starting Markstrom yesterday, and giving Miller the start in his hometown? I mean, thanks to injury he's only played here with the Canucks once, and that was last season. Was playing him after the shutout against Columbus so vital that it made this impossible for the Canucks to perceive? While it may not be benching Roberto Luongo in the Heritage Classic tone deaf, it does certainly make you wonder, yet again if this organization really knows about how the rest of the hockey world views their decisions?

One thing that's going to need to be better for the Canucks is their defensive play. Boston capitalized on ugly turnovers by Canucks Dmen, and it cost them the game. From a classic Luca Sbizza delivery, to Ben Hutton's ugly gaffe in the 3rd, their back end isn't helping the goaltenders right now.

GAME DAY BATTLE HYMN

Dallas, TX's vicious thrashers Power Trip have a new disc out, and will be touring Europe with Napalm Death and Brujeria. Here's the title track of that new album, 'Nightmare Logic'.