Friday, December 30th, 2016 7:00 PM PST
Radio: AM 830, AnaheimDucks.com
Your Enemy: Nucks Misconduct
After a game of redemption against the Flames in which “the nighthawk” Brandon Mantour finally made his much anticipated NHL debut, the Ducks conclude their brief Western Canadian swing in Vancouver. The Canucks are still languishing at the bottom of the Pacific, better only than the Coyotes at this point and sitting 3rd to last in the league.
The Vancouver Canucks are in the midst of lengthy schizophrenic episode. A lot of folks think they should cut the cord and rebuild, while management steadfastly denies any need for it. Sean McIndoe of Down Goes Brown fame did a nice piece on teams that might need rebuilds last month and the Canucks topped the list. He ranked the Kings 8th too which was a pleasant sight. So while management is in denial and the offseason pieces brought in to help have been getting lost somewhere on Robson St - the Canucks have been providing middling results. They started December with a 3-1 loss to our fabled feathered fellas and since then have rotated between shock wins such as a 5-1 triumph over Tampa and disappointing losses to the likes of the Devils and Carolina. Entering tonight's action they - like the Ducks, are on a one game winning streak having just beat the Kings (yay thanks guys) on Wednesday night.
Louie Eriksson, brought in as a sure-thing Sedin matchmaker in the offeason has failed to click despite showing chemistry in previous international tournaments. He was initially replaced by Brandon Sutter on the top line and the 27 year old Huntington, NY native consequently enjoys the highest TOI among forwards but has since been bumped to the second line. The rookie Jayson Megna is now flanking the Swedish twins. Sutter was acquired for former Duck Nick Bonino, so essentially the Canucks went from Kesler to Bonino to Sutter.
Speaking of former Ducks, Luca Sbisa is still playing! He was somehow on the Canucks top pairing at one point too! He is now on the second pairing. Yeah I don’t see how they don’t blow this team up? If you had a soft spot for Sbisa you might like this story. This feels a little pot calling the kettle black, however, given we were stupid enough to give Bieksa money and a NMC so I will stop.
Despite the Sedins being the obvious danger men up front, the Ducks will also need to watch the so-called 3rd line with Horvat and Burrows. Horvat co-leads the Canucks in both goals and points and appears to be the only bright spark on a subpar first half of the season for the BC based squad. The Canucks have also received scoring from their point in their recent wins so the Ducks will need to watch for that as well. In net it’s likely Miller to get the start given his strong win over the Kings on Wednesday.