Vancouver Canucks: Week 11 Preview, Predictions
Dec 16, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; The Vancouver Canucks celebrate the win over the Tampa Bay Lightning at the end of the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
The Vancouver Canucks went 1-2 last week, then dropped an overtime game Sunday afternoon against Columbus. TCW previews and predicts the rest of Week 11.
The Vancouver Canucks have played two Sunday matinée games in a row. Neither has ended with a win.
The first was last week against the Washington Capitals. Vancouver faced a quick turnaround after playing the night before against the Florida Panthers. With less than 24 hours between games, the Canucks were outplayed for most that game. They left without scoring a goal.
The second came this past Sunday, against the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Jackets are the NHL’s hottest team, and they showed it by winning their ninth straight game. Vancouver was able to get the game to overtime, but Seth Jones won it in overtime for the Jackets.
Sandwiched between these two games was a tough loss versus the Carolina Hurricanes, and a strong win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Vancouver has three games scheduled for the remainder of this week. Let’s take a look at what’s coming up.
Mar 22, 2016; Winnipeg, Manitoba, CAN; Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) tries to get puck control from Vancouver Canucks left wing Alex Burrows (14) in third period play at MTS Centre. Winnipeg Jets won 2-0 over the Vancouver Canucks. Mandatory Credit: James Carey Lauder-USA TODAY Sports
Tuesday, Dec. 20: Canucks vs. Winnipeg Jets
Record-wise, the Winnipeg Jets are in a similar situation to the Vancouver Canucks.
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They sit 15-16-3, which puts them just outside the last wild card spot in the Western Conference. Like the Canucks, they have an excellent record at home, but they have not performed nearly as well on the road. Winnipeg only has five wins in 17 attempts on the road.
Vancouver hopes that trend continues for the Jets.
These teams meet for the first time this season. Winnipeg swept the Canucks in their three matchups last season, by a combined scored of 11-3. Their final game was March 22, when the Jets handed the Canucks their third straight shutout.
They will use their speed and puck skills to wear out this Canucks lineup.
Patrik Laine scores two power-play goals and the Canucks struggle to come from behind.
After a near miss versus the NHL’s hottest team, the Canucks will pull off a win against the Jets.
Mar 14, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Winnipeg Jets forward Mark Scheifele (55) scores a goal past Vancouver Canucks goaltender Jacob Markstrom (25) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Jets won 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Thursday, Dec. 22: Canucks vs. Winnipeg Jets
No, this is not a typo. The Vancouver Canucks will face the Winnipeg Jets on home ice twice in two nights.
When they do, it will mark the first two times brothers Brandon and Chris Tanev have faced each other in the NHL. After playing in the final three games for the Jets last season, Brandon Tanev made the team out of training camp and has appeared in every game so far. He has scored four points and earned 24 penalty minutes.
An even more notable addition to the Jets this year is one Patrik Laine.
Laine already looks like a top goal-scorer in the NHL. The Jets did not win the first-overall pick in the 2016 draft, but no one in Winnipeg is complaining.
They’re actually a great home team and an inconsistent Jets team won’t steal two here.
Laine stays off the score sheet this time and the Canucks manage to snag a win. It’s that easy sometimes.
The Canucks and Jets will split these two games. I predicted the Canucks win the last one, so they will lose this one.
Oct 15, 2016; Vancouver, British Columbia, CAN; Vancouver Canucks forward Sven Baertschi (47) moves the puck against Calgary Flames goaltender Chad Johnson (31) during the third period at Rogers Arena. The Vancouver Canucks won 2-1 in a shootout. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Friday, Dec. 23: Canucks vs. Calgary Flames
Over two months ago, the Vancouver Canucks season began against the Calgary Flames.
It was the first game of Loui Eriksson‘s tenure as a Canuck. It did not begin well:
Luckily for him, the Canucks eventually got that goal back, and Eriksson himself helped set it up. But his first season in Vancouver is still not quite living up to the hype — or the price tag.
Vancouver signed Eriksson to a $6 Million per year contract, expecting him to great improve their top-six scoring. It hasn’t worked out that way. Eriksson was moved off the Sedin line and has not returned. He has six goals and eight assists and is now playing with Brandon Sutter and Markus Granlund.
But the Flames biggest early problem was in goal. Goaltending was their undoing last season, and trading a second-round pick for Brian Elliott looked like it was a solution. So far, though, Elliott’s number are downright miserable: 3.31 goals-against average, .886 save percentage.
It was the far cheaper Chad Johnson, who signed as a free agent, who turned out to be the answer. Once the Flames made him the starter, they started turning their season around. They currently sit in the final wild card spot, and are only three points out of a Pacific Division playoff spot.
They’re getting hot and the Canucks lack of speed won’t burn it out.
Games against the Flames are always close, and the Canucks always win. Well, at least that’s the way it should be.
Hopefully the Flames start Brian Elliott, and this becomes an easy night for the Canucks. If not, the Canucks can probably still pull off a win against their divisional rival.