Game Day: Raymond out, Bolduc in as Canucks Host Blues.
Vancouver Canucks: 14-7-3, 31 points. (1st in Northwest Division)
St Louis Blues: 12-9-4, 28 points. (4th in Central Division)
Canucks Leading Scorers:
Goals: D. Sedin (14)
Assists: H. Sedin (27)
Points: D/H. Sedin (30)
Plus/Minus: C. Ehrhoff (8 )
Blues Leading Scorers:
Goals: A. McDonald (8 )
Assists: D. Backes (13)
Points: A. McDonald (17)
Plus/Minus: D. Perron (7)
Canucks: M. Raymond (illness) (G. Desbiens (hand), S. Salo (achilles), R. Rypien (personal leave).
Blues: T.J. Oshie (ankle), D. Perron (concussion), R. Polak (wrist)
The Vancouver Canucks will try to make it five in a row when they take on the struggling St. Louis Blues Sunday night at Rogers Arena at 6:00 p.m. pacific.
The Canucks are coming off a huge emotional win with a 3-0 shutout of the hated Chicago Blackhawks. Roberto Luongo was absolutely sensational in that game, and he will look to keep his streak rolling as he gets the start again tonight.
Bobby Lou hasn't been his usual consistent self this season, but pundits everywhere are wondering if his statement game in Chicago was a sign of things to come. At the very least, it has to be something for Luongo to build off of.
The Canucks can credit their current four game win streak to their special teams, which have been phenomenal. They currently have the best powerplay in the league, scoring at about a 26% clip. Their penalty kill is number three in the league, being successful at about 87%. They are nearly unbeatable at home, with an 8-2-1 record. On paper, the Canucks should beat the Blues handily; but will it translate into reality?
The forward lines are rolling for the 'nucks, as Henrik and Daniel Sedin have been as advertised, with 30 points each in 26 games. The second line had to be tweaked a bit, as Mason Raymond battles illness. Jannik Hansen will move up from the fourth line to the second, and Alex Bolduc will slot in the fourth. The second line, raymond or not will be successful if they consistently get pucks in deep, go hard in on the forecheck, and confuse and pressure defenders with their blazing speed. Having a potent second line can only mean more chances for the Sedin brothers and Alex Burrows.
On the defense, Keith Ballard seemingly has started to fit in with the defensive system in Vancouver. He has seemed more comfortable with the puck, is making smarter decisions and is throwing his body around. Ballard does, however, have to get his offensive game going if he truly wants to be effective for his new team.
The St, Louis Blues started the season with a bang, going 8-1-1 in their first ten games. However, the walls are starting to cave in, as Jaroslav Halak only has two wins in his last ten outings. Overall, the Blues have gone 3-8-2 in their last 13 games.They currently sit last in the competitive Central Division at 12-9-4.
The blues struggle to score goals and rely heavily on Halak. He was brilliant early on in the season, but as previously mentioned, he no longer has a big red S on his chest. Halak can stop the puck, theres no doubt about that. The Blues will need to start igniting their popgun offence if they hope to have success this season. Their leading scorer right now is Andy McDonald, and he has 17 points in 25 games.
So, the Canucks, The Blues. Will it be the defensive battle everyone is predicting it will be, or will it be a winner take all, run and gun offensive explosion? Well, probably the first one. But hey, it would be pretty cool if it was the second one, right?
Vancouver Canucks Lines:
D.Sedin, H.Sedin, A.Burrows
J. Hansen, R.Kesler, J. Tambellini
R.Torres, M.Malhotra, M. Samuelsson
T.Glass, A. Bolduc, J. Perreault
C. Ehrhoff, A. Edler
K. Bieksa, D. Hamhuis
K. Ballard, A. Alberts