Vancouver Canucks: Week 2 Preview, Predictions

Oct 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Brandon Sutter (20) celebrates with teammates after scoring the game winning goal against Calgary Flames goaltender Chad Johnson (not pictured) during a shootout after an overtime period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Vancouver Canucks started their season in dramatic fashion, with two comeback victories at home. The Canuck Way previews and predicts Week 2.

What a way for the Vancouver Canucks to start their season.

The boys in blue played the first two games of a four-game homestand over the weekend. They walked away with all four possible points. Not bad for a team many are picking to finish last.

Granted, it is probably too early to start betting on a Canucks Stanley Cup win or adding Derek Dorsett to your fantasy team. But two wins are two wins, and fans should celebrate.

Besides, it was not just the results which are so impressive. It was the way the Canucks achieved them.

Recap: Brandon Sutter and the Comeback Canucks

Loui Eriksson did not make a great first impression on Canucks fans:

Luckily for Loui, he redeemed himself later in the game by setting up Daniel Sedin‘s tying goal. The tally came at the end of 1:34 of offensive zone time for the top line. This sequence — which fans have dubbed “The Shift 2.0” — will join the ranks of all-time best Sedin highlights:

Ryan Miller made 25 saves and stopped all four Calgary attempts in the shootout. Due to the own-goal, he finished the game with a save percentage of 1.000, yet did not earn a shutout.

Brandon Sutter scored the shootout winner to earn the walk-off victory.

The following night the Canucks returned to play the Carolina Hurricanes. Despite out-shooting the ‘Canes 10-7 in the first period, they found themselves down 2-0 after one. The teams traded goals in the second period and Carolina had a 3-1 lead to start the third.

The Canucks were dominant in the third period, managing 13 shots and scoring twice to tie the game. Bo Horvat, Markus Granlund and Ben Hutton each scored their first goals of the year for the Canucks.

In overtime, Brandon Sutter would win a second game in as many nights for the home team:

That was the week that was. Let’s look at the three games the Canucks have coming up in Week Two.

Mar 25, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Vancouver Canucks goalie Jacob Markstrom (25) makes a save against St. Louis Blues right wing Troy Brouwer (36) during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 18th: Canucks vs. St. Louis Blues

Winning against two teams who missed the playoffs last year is one thing. The Canucks will make a much stiffer test tonight versus the St. Louis Blues, who reached the Western Conference Finals last season.

The Canucks will have a new face on the bench, as they had to find an emergency backup goaltender after Ryan Miller was deemed unavailable to play:

Welcome to the Canucks, Matt Hewitt!

Jack Skille will also make his Vancouver debut, taking the place of Jake Virtanen in the lineup. Alex Biega and Nikita Tryamkin are the other healthy scatches. Jacob Markstrom will start in place of Miller.

The Blues will be without defenseman Carl Gunnarsson and forwards Jori Lehtera and Kyle Brodziak. Ty Rattie will play his 27th NHL game, and Robert Bortuzzo and Dmitri Jaskin will also draw in.

Janik Beichler:

St. Louis Blues
4
Vancouver Canucks
0

This isn’t really about me thinking the Canucks are terrible, but rather the fact that St. Louis is still really good. The Blues are on a roll, and this is where their streak will really get going.

Gerald Morton:

St. Louis Blues
3
Vancouver Canucks
0

The Blues are good. They have solid goaltending, good defense and real firepower.

Ben Dooley:

St. Louis Blues
4
Vancouver Canucks
2

The Blues offense is firing early in the season and they’re off to a 3-0 start. They are also better defensively than the Flames or the Hurricanes. If the Canucks fall behind early, they won’t be coming back.

Jeff Godley:

Vancouver Canucks
3
St. Louis Blues
2

The Canucks probably should  lose this game; which means they will probably win.

St. Louis is better on paper in every category than the Vancouver. Except for “number of identical Swedish twins” where the Canucks lead by a pair. Those twins will make the difference and put the Canucks over the top. Jacob Markstrom will make 30-plus saves.

Dec 7, 2015; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Henrik Sedin (33) scores against Buffalo Sabres goaltender Linus Ullmark (35) (not pictured) during the second period at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

Oct 20th: Canucks vs. Buffalo Sabres

After facing a stiff opponent in the Blues, the Canucks will face the enigmatic Buffalo Sabres.

On the eve of the regular season, the Sabres lost Jack Eichel to injury. They then lost their first game as well, 4-1 to the Montreal Canadiens.

With Eichel already out six to eight weeks, things went from bad to worse as Evander Kane was injured against the Habs.

However, the Sabres did get some good news, as Kyle Okposo made his debut with the team in their next game versus the Edmonton Oilers. They responded by handing the Oilers their first loss of the season, a 6-2 decision.

Which Sabres team will the Canucks be facing on Thursday night? Will Okposo spur them on to another victory or will the loss of Eichel and Kane prove too much against the (mostly) healthy Canucks?

Janik:

Vancouver Canucks
3
Buffalo Sabres
1

A comeback win for the Canucks — staying on playoff course. The Sabres will be a strong team in the future, but they are certainly beatable right now.

Gerald:

Buffalo Sabres
4
Vancouver Canucks
3

The Canucks start Markstrom in this game and they lose, reminding everyone that Markstrom is, at best, a league average goalie.

Ben:

Buffalo Sabres
3
Vancouver Canucks
0

A lot of this prediction is because I have Ryan O’Reilly and Robin Lehner (I waited too long to pick a goalie) on my fantasy hockey team. I need them to win for the sake of my fantasy hockey team

Jeff:

Buffalo Sabres
5
Vancouver Canucks
2

The Canucks probably should win this game; which means they will probably lose. Buffalo will surprise Vancouver early and the Canucks will not recover.

Also, why does Gerald write “Markstrom is a league-average goaltender” like that’s a bad thing? League average save percentage last season was  .915, which is pretty darn good. Just throwing that out there.

Apr 4, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller (30) defends against Los Angeles Kings forward <a rel=

Oct 22th: Canucks @ Los Angeles Kings

To finish off the week, the Canucks play the first of back-to-back road games in California.

Their opponent, the Los Angeles Kings, received some devastating injury news of their own to start the season. Goaltender Jonathan Quick left their first game with a groin injury. The Kings confirmed that Quick will miss three to four months and may require surgery.

With with their all-star goaltender out long-term, the Kings are left with Jeff Zatkoff and Peter Budaj between the pipes. The Kings were already without forward Marian Gaborik, who was injured in the World Cup. The Quick injury may bring an early end to their playoff hopes.

Janik:

Vancouver Canucks
2
Los Angeles Kings
1

Games against the Kings are always close, and here’s to hoping the Canucks can continue to win close games. Could well be another overtime or shootout game.

Gerald:

Vancouver Canucks
3
Los Angeles Kings
2

My only real prediction for this year is that the Canucks are going to be bad overall. That means they will lose when can win and win when everyone thinks they should lose. They aren’t a terrible team, but they are going to be wildly inconsistent. So, they beat the Kings with a stellar performance from Miller.

Ben:

Vancouver Canucks
4
Los Angeles Kings
2

With Jonathan Quick potentially out for months, the Kings are relying on a goaltending duo of Jeff Zatkoff and Peter Budaj. That doesn’t scream great goaltending duo and the Canucks should take advantage of that. Expecting a big game from Bo Horvat in this one.

Jeff:

Vancouver Canucks
5
Los Angeles Kings
0

The Los Angeles Kings embarrassed the Canucks in a couple of lopsided games last year. With Quick and Gaborik out, it’s high time for Vancouver to return the favor.

Henrik Sedin and Daniel Sedin will come up big, and Ben Hutton and Erik Gudbranson will both score multiple points.

This time, injuries might work in the Canucks’ favor

The Canucks, who are still relatively healthy, will face three teams facing some early injuries this week.

The Blues are still a dangerous team, while the Sabres and Kings have lost some of their best players.

Can the Vancouver Canucks take advantage of this and keep their winning record alive? We will find out starting tonight.

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