It's tough to lose a game in which you dominate as much as the Ducks did last night, and get caught on the counter attack. But that game has almost no bearing on what is going to happen tonight, whatsoever. The overwhelming offensive advantage the Ducks had in Edmonton was largely due to the Oilers' defense being an absolute joke of a sh*t show, which is an insult to both jokes and sh*t shows. That's not the case in Vancouver.
Keys to the Game: The Canucks have had a bit of injury trouble of late. Henrik Sedin is day-to-day with a leg injury and has missed the last two games. Also, Ryan Kesler is coming back from having been out four games due to a knee injury (he's played the last three).
Missing those two big guns recently hasn't hampered them offensively though. in the last three weeks (nine games) they've averaged 3.33 goals per game. That's higher than any team in the league has averaged over the course of the season (Chicago leads with 3.23) and a dramatic step up from their season average of 2.37 (28th).
With that in mind, the Ducks will have to play MUCH better defensively than they have in their past couple of games. Edmonton has some exciting young players and Calgary is on a hot streak now, but allowing six goals in two games to teams at the bottom of the standings isn't going to hold up, especially when the competition gets much stiffer in the final three games of the season and the playoffs.
Remember when Vancouver had two goalies that were so good, it was tearing the city apart at the seams? That was last year. Since June they've traded both of those goalies away for peanuts and are now forced to start Eddie Lack in every game. Pretty hilarious, if you ask me.
If the Ducks can put the kind of pressure on Vancouver as they did in Edmonton last night (again, unlikely due to Edmonton's horrific defense) they should have a better time of it with the Canucks riding Eddie Lack so hard since trading Roberto Luongo to Florida at the deadline. His numbers aren't terrible, actually on par with Hiller on the season (Lack has a .915 Sv% to Hiller's .913) but they really have no option in net as their backup is Jacob Markstrom aka "The guy who was supposed to be the savior in Florida but couldn't crack the NHL for six years IN FLORIDA." In limited action (13 GP), Markstrom has an abysmal save percentage of .872 and has only played one game since being acquired in the Luongo deal.
Also, the last game between these two teams was the 9-1 shellacking the Ducks handed Vancouver back in mid January. The Canucks have settled down a bit since then, so don't expect a ton of those kind of fireworks tonight, but do keep in mind that as he was being ejected Kevin Bieksa was clearly calling out Patrick Maroon for "next time." Just saying, it wouldn't hurt to get under the skin of these Canuck-leheads *cough*CoreyPerry*cough*.
What Can We Learn From this Game: I would expect Bruce Boudreau to continue with his rotation of resting defensemen, although I'm not exactly loving that concept right now. With the way the defense has been playing lately, I would rather see them get games in and try and get back to form for the playoffs, and that's not even saying anything of the division race. Of course, I don't make the decisions, so on with the show.
Speaking of the division race, the Ducks missed a golden opportunity to take back the lead last night, and trail by a single point, pending the result of San Jose at Colorado today at noon PT.
Fearless Prediction: The Ducks light up Eddie Lack, sparking the rarely seen reverse goalie controversy, because Vancouver can't help itself.
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.